Support with 2013 reforms

In 2012, Ofqual asked all awarding bodies to strengthen their GCSEs in History. In response, we made some changes to our GCSE History A specification for first teaching from 2013. Here, you’ll find everything you need to support you with the changes, including resources and answers to your FAQs.

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Support and resources available for GCSE History A 2013 

  What is it? Where to find it
Specification Final, accredited specification for first certification 2015. In the course materials.
Sample Assessment Materials Final, accredited sample assessment materials for Unit 1, Unit 2 (A, B and C), Unit 3 (A, B and C) and Unit 4 (CA5 and CA10). In the course materials.
Controlled Assessment Representation Bank The third representation must now be chosen from the Edexcel Controlled Assessment Representation Bank. This will be accessible by your Exams Officer. (Note that for CA10L, the third representation may be chosen by the centre, but must be approved via Ask the Expert.) In the course materials.
Controlled assessment tasks for submission in 2015 Controlled assessment tasks are now valid for submission in one series only. Students starting a two-year course in September 2013 for certification in 2015 must use the tasks for submission in 2015. They will need to be downloaded by your Exams Officer. In the course materials.
Voiceover presentation A summary of the changes for 2013. Now available here.
Matching charts Colour-coded charts of specification content for each topic, indicating new and amended content, plus assessment grids giving and overview of changes to question styles and mark schemes In the course materials.
Course planner and overview scheme of work This suggests ways of structuring the course as a whole and gives one overview two-year scheme of work as an example. In the course materials.
Topic-specific schemes of work These are more detailed schemes of work – one for each topic – with week-by-week suggestions for teaching content, activities and resources.  In the course materials.
Teacher support booklets Tailored to each unit, these focus on what is new or has changed from September 2013. They provide a quick reminder of content changes and then look in more detail at individual question types, explaining the changes and providing exemplification where necessary. In the course materials.
  Content Assessment
Unit 1

In order to ensure breadth of study and to avoid overlap of dates and content with Unit 2, sections 1-3 of Unit 1 have been removed. Sections 4-6 form Key Topics.


1-3 of a compulsory study of International Relations during the era of the Cold War 1943-1991, with very minor amendments to content. The causes of the Great War can be studied as a new Unit 4 Controlled Assessment topic.  

The question paper consists of six questions, including two source-based questions.                       
Unit 2 The Unit 2 depth study is expected to retain the three options on Germany, Russia and USA. To ensure comparability between options, the Russia option is expected to start in 1914, not 1917. We're expecting some other minor changes to content across the three options. Some minor changes to mark schemes.
Unit 3

Unit 3 is a British history unit, with a new 3C on Britain 1951-79, replacing the option on USA 1945-70. This is to ensure that the requirement to study a substantial (minimum 25%) and coherent element of British history is met through an examined unit. US Civil Rights to be available as a controlled assessment topic (CA6).

 

There are very minor amendments to content in options 3A and 3B.

The mark schemes award more marks for own knowledge and will include an element of AO3b.
Unit 4 Content has been restructured into three bullet points to align with the three tasks. There is some further change to topic content in order to make the topics more comparable. The requirements for this unit have been made more explicit in the specification. There is a new Part A task, which requires historical explanation. Part B requires historical enquiry. Part C requires analysis and evaluation of representations.

Update: August 2013

The changes to the final documents from the earlier drafts are summarised below:

  • In the Unit 1 question paper, the stimulus added to question 6 has been reduced to two bullet points only, with a requirement to use additional own knowledge. The mark scheme has been updated to reflect these changes.
     
  • In the Unit 2 question papers, the stimulus in question 3 has been reduced to two bullet points only, with a requirement to use additional own knowledge. The mark scheme has been updated to reflect these changes.
     
  • In Unit 3, the mark scheme for question 2 has been amended to make clear its focus on the purpose of the representation. Question 5 has been reworded to ensure it focuses on evaluation of an interpretation, with amendments made to the mark scheme accordingly.
     
  • In Unit 4, Part B now targets AO3 as well as AO1 and AO2; Part C now targets AO1 and AO2 as well as AO3. There are amendments to the mark schemes for Part B and Part C (note that Unit 4 mark schemes are in the specification).

GCSE History 2013 FAQs 

Our GCSE History A and B specifications have now been accredited by Ofqual.

The new specification is for first teaching in September 2013 for two-year courses. This is a linear course and the first assessment is summer 2015. 

Following announcements on 6 September brand new GCSEs are now expected to be introduced for first teaching in September 2016, with first examinations in summer 2018.

These 2013 changes relate to Ofqual’s request that awarding organisations strengthen their existing GCSEs in History, Geography and English Literature for September 2013. 

The final assessment of the current 2012 specification is summer 2014. There will not be a resit opportunity for this specification as the revised 2013 specification will be assessed from summer 2015. Any student wanting to retake their History GCSE after their summer 2014 results will need to follow the revised 2013 specification. 

For certification in summer 2014, the current linear 2012 specification must be followed. The revised 2013 specification will not be assessed until summer 2015.

From September 2014 onwards, the revised specification can be completed in a year.  

Yes. In order to avoid overlap of dates and content with Unit 2 depth studies, and to ensure breadth of study across the course, all students must now study The era of the Cold War 1943-1991. The causes of the Great War can be studied as a new Unit 4 Controlled Assessment topic (CA13). 

Unit 3 is now a British unit, so the option on USA 1945-70 is no longer available in this unit. Centres must choose one of the three British options: 3A Britain c1903-28, 3B Britain c1931-51 or the new 3C Britain c1951-79. US civil rights is available in the Controlled Assessment option CA6 Civil rights and protest in the USA 1945-70. 

The Pearson Edexcel GCSE History student books* for Units 1, 2 and 3 will be updated for the 2013 specification changes. Centres that purchase 2009/2012 editions in 2013 will be able to replace these with the 2013 editions when these publish.

*Paid-for resources may also be available from other publishers, including those endorsed by Edexcel. Edexcel's paid-for resources are not a pre-requisite for the delivery of Edexcel specifications. 

The changes to the final document from the earlier drafts are summarised below:

  • In the Unit 1 question paper, the stimulus added to question 6 has been reduced to two bullet points only, with a requirement to use additional own knowledge. The mark scheme has been updated to reflect these changes.
  • In the Unit 2 question papers, the stimulus in question 3 has been reduced to two bullet points only, with a requirement to use additional own knowledge. The mark scheme has been updated to reflect these changes.
  • In Unit 3, the mark scheme for question 2 has been amended to ensure the focus on the purpose of the representation is clear. Question 5 has been reworded to ensure it focuses on evaluation of an interpretation, with amendments made to the mark scheme accordingly.
  • In Unit 4, Part B now targets AO3 as well as AO1 and AO2; Part C now targets AO1 and AO2 as well as AO3. There are amendments to the mark schemes for Part B and Part C (note that Unit 4 mark schemes are in the specification).

Next steps

To ensure you receive the latest information, please subscribe to receive regular updates from our History Subject Advisor by emailing TeachingHistory@pearson.com.

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