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Marshfields School

A Positive Choice

Information about GCSE English

GCSE English language – new specification

In September 2015, the Government introduced changes to the English and maths GCSEs. These subjects will now be assessed by exam only; there is no coursework or controlled assessment. In English the exams are not tiered, so all students take the same papers. Students will be awarded one of nine grades, represented by the numbers 1-9, with 9 being the highest level of attainment.

The new numbering system does not equate directly to the old grades A-F. For example, a new grade 4 is roughly a low C and a new grade 5 is roughly a high C/low B. The Government is encouraging people and employers to consider a grade 5 as a ‘pass’ or threshold.

English at Marshfields

The most able students are studying English language using the eduqas* specification, which is designed to allow students to engage with a wide range of texts and develop critical skills in reading, writing and spoken language. Spelling, punctuation and grammar are important and account for 20% of the marks in the written exams.

The new exams will run from summer 2017. Stuents will sit two exam papers and be assessed on their speaking and listening skills by members of Marshfields English department.

Component/Exam 1 (1hr 45mins) tests reading and comprehension of an unseen 20th century fictional text and a student’s ability to write creatively (a story).

Component/Exam 2 (2hrs) tests reading and comprehension of two unseen
non-fiction texts: one 19th century and one 21st century. This paper includes two compulsory writing questions, and students may be required to write any of the following: a letter, review, newspaper or magazine article, report, speech or leaflet.

Component 3 is the speaking and listening assessment. Students give a formal presentation or speech and are required to answer questions from the audience. This assessment is marked, but does not count towards the overall English language GCSE grade. It is reported separately.

Students in the GCSE group receive homework each week. It is usually set on Friday with a completion deadline of the following Wednesday (unless otherwise stated). Most English homework should take no longer than an hour.

We ask parents\carers to encourage students to complete their homework, as it is an essential part of building their skills and confidence in time for the exams. We also ask parents\carers to encourage students to ask for help from their English teacher or classroom/tutor group TA, if they are finding the homework challenging.

* Eduqas is part of the WJEC examining board.