Preparing for the new Design and Technology GCSE Contextual Challenge

Preparing for the new Design and Technology GCSE Contextual Challenge

The new Design and Technology GCSE for first examining in 2019, brings with it a significant change with the requirements of the coursework element, now called the non-examined assessment component.  Although the component now accounts for 50% rather than 60% of the overall marks, this is still obviously a vital element of the assessment process and one that is understandably causing some anxiety in schools.

The D&T Association is working along with the Awarding Organisation’s, to provide support and make sure that teachers concerns are addressed and the requirements as to what is and what is not acceptable both in terms of working procedures and submissions of outcome is clear. We recognise that with any significant change, it is necessary to ensure that new requirements are explained and where possible illustrated. Providing examples of students work to demonstrate performance at levels and also exemplar prototypes is not easy prior to the first year of examining but we understand that the AOs are assembling resources that will be helpful and these will in due course be made available on their respective websites.

We are also developing a one-day course and resources that we will be running in 2018, during the period leading up to the release by the AOs, of the contextual challenges on June 1st 2018.  These sessions will explore issues such as: the wide possible range of outcomes, what constitutes a ‘final prototype’, what support can teachers provide, evidencing the range of design activity and meeting the AOs individual requirements.

We will be continuing to prompt AOs to provide as much support as possible during the forthcoming months, but we do appreciate that for them, the reforms also represent a considerable challenge and getting resources together is not straightforward n the time avaialble.  However, we continue to be very positive about the developments to the GCSE and are very keen that the subject community are supported in maximising the considerable opportunities the reform provides.  Inevitably, there will be a ‘bedding in’ period and we won’t get everything right first time. This is recognised by DfE who have been open in stating that it is the intention to broadly speaking, maintain the same overall level of performance across the cohort, in terms of grades awarded. 

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