Thanks to Matt Podbury for tipoff...




We believe that the curriculum content for geography can be the same for all students and that all students can be assessed in the same way. We propose that the reformed GCSE in geography should not be tiered.

Forms of assessment

Our controlled assessment review found a good deal of agreement that carrying out fieldwork is essential for students of GCSE geography. There was less agreement about whether it is possible to assess fieldwork skills as part of GCSE geography assessment, although there was a view that some of the skills – data manipulation, interpretation and analysis, for example – can be assessed through written exams. There were many concerns about the nature of school fieldwork exercises which many schools complete in a single day. Even the most capable students are unlikely to have the time during one day of fieldwork to experiment with alternative approaches to data collection, which means that they are not able to reflect on, further analyse and evaluate their work.

There are also issues of fairness for all students. We found that if teachers designed poor fieldwork exercises then that could prevent students from performing well, or from accessing all of the marking criteria.

The curriculum content requires students to undertake fieldwork, but the related knowledge and skills can be assessed by written exam set and marked by the exam board. We therefore propose that all assessment for the reformed geography GCSE should be by written exams alone and that the total assessment time should be no less than 3.5 hours.