The Curriculum and Assessment Specialist for the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), Suzanne O’Farrell will be delivering a session on how to develop a school strategy that will best enable your students to achieve, at our Raising Achievement in Linear Examinations conference in London.
The way schools approach the transition from modular to linear will be a key factor in maximising their school’s success in the reformed GCSEs. Many of our teachers may only have taught and learnt themselves and in a modular way, so how can they be supported to ensure they can rise to this challenge successfully?
We know that the reformed GCSEs will be of an increased demand compared to the qualifications they are replacing but what does this actually mean? What is changing? There are three aspects that are addressed by this – one is obviously the increased quantity and demand of the content, secondly the assessment structure and thirdly the item (question) difficulty.
Schools may need to adapt their approaches to their assessment strategies in light of this.
The increased demand in the content of the reformed GCSEs also has implications for pedagogy. Schools will be wrestling with ensuring they teach what is essential for students to understand so that they can answer any question on any topic as historians, linguists, geographers and mathematicians etc as well as what is needed directly for the test. Not to mention ensuring they help their students prepare for the increased extended writing and problem solving demands that we have been told are features of the reformed examinations.
The way in which schools organise and structure their curriculum will be an important aspect of successful delivery of the reformed GCSES. Curriculum design will require a more holistic approach in terms of sequencing, spacing and interleaving content whilst ensuring a depth of understanding.
These are some of the areas addressed in my upcoming session on managing the transition from modular to linear.
Suzanne O’Farrell is ASCL’s Curriculum and Assessment Specialist and prior to this role Suzanne was ASCL’s Inspections Specialist for 18 months. Before joining ASCL, Suzanne was headteacher of a large secondary school in Staffordshire for seven years.
Suzanne originally trained as a modern languages teacher and taught languages and English in a number of schools. Throughout her 27 year teaching career and prior to taking up her headship, Suzanne’s previous roles also include head of a large sixth form (offering the IB and A levels), deputy headteacher, local leader of education and part time Tutor Fellow at Keele University supporting the delivery of the modern languages PGCE programme.