GCSE Subject Level Conditions and Requirements for Design and Technology February 2016

Published 4th March 2016

Ofqual have now published the GCSE Subject Level Conditions for Design and Technology. This is the outcome of the final consultation that closed in January, relating to the D&T GCSE reforms. It sets out the conditions relating to the assessment aspects associated with GCSE D&T including the ratio between examined and non-examined assessment (NEA), the weighting of the 4 Assessment Objectives and other details.

The requirements inform the individual specifications that are produced by the awarding organisations (AOs). These are in their final stages of drafting and should be published on line in draft format in May.

Ofqual will then consider them and within 40 days, respond to each respective AO, indicating their decision as to whether they comply or if changes need making. We are still hoping that final specifications will be available before the beginning of the 2016-17 academic year.

In the meantime, this publication is helpful as it provides some information as to how the GCSE will be assessed and therefore, an indication of the nature of courses that schools might plan. The rules relating to the contextual challenges are significant. An awarding organisation must not communicate the contextual challenges that it has set before 1 June in the calendar year preceding the year in which the qualification is to be awarded. This means that in most situations, throughout year 10, students will concentrate on developing their skills, knowledge and understanding and only begin to address the specific NEA in the summer term. The D&T Association believes this is sensible and within the spirit of the reforms on which along with others, it has being providing advice.

The D&T Association believes that there is great scope for significantly improving the examination aspect of GCSE that for a long time has been lacking.   The new requirement:

AO4 Demonstrate and apply knowledge and understanding of –

  • technical principles
  • designing and making principles

Accounts for 40% of the marks. The remaining 10% is given over to addressing:

AO3 Analyse and evaluate –

  • design decisions and outcomes, including for prototypes made by themselves and others
  • wider issues in design and technology.

We are looking forward to seeing sample examination questions demonstrating how the awarding organisations will test these objectives.

The D&T Association’ Annual Summer School will this year focus on the new qualifications. The awarding organisations will be attending and giving presentations on their individual specifications together with the associated assessment requirments.

Back to News