Changes to A level Chemistry practical task rules from September 2014

Thu Feb 20 15:15:00 UTC 2014

We're making changes to the organisation and administration of practical tasks for Edexcel GCE Chemistry (units 6CH03 and 6CH06) from September 2014.

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The changes are:

  • All 'b', 'c' and 'd' tasks currently available will only be valid for submission until May 2014.
  • We will replace all 'b', 'c' and 'd' tasks on an annual basis. They will be valid for one year only.
  • We won't publish mark schemes on the website until the January after the tasks are released.
  • From September 2014, candidates who wish to resit Unit 6CH03 or Unit 6CH06 must resubmit a complete new set of 'b', 'c' and 'd' tasks, valid for the series in which the candidate has been entered.

Please note: none of these changes affect the administration of 'a' tasks (General Practical Competence).

We've already restricted the ability to download 'b', 'c' and 'd' tasks to exams officers only. However, we'd like to remind you that copies of the practical tasks must be stored securely after downloading, the same as for any live examination paper. This requirement also applies to students’ completed tasks. 

You should also not return completed practical tasks to students, except ‘out of date’ tasks used for practice. This is in line with the 'Security of Edexcel-set Internal Assessment Tasks' document, which you can find in our A level Chemistry course materials under 'Teaching materials' and ‘Coursework support.’

We've made these changes because the current system of downloading practical tasks for use in AS level and A2 level coursework units has led to concerns about possible ‘leakage’ of information about the tasks, which could potentially lead to some candidates gaining an advantage over others.

The awarding bodies recently met with Ofqual to discuss these concerns, where they agreed that:  

  • steps will be taken to improve the confidentiality of practical tasks
  • practical tasks will be replaced every year
  • mark schemes will be released after the practical tasks.

We'd like to support you in making these changes in your centres, so if you have any questions, please email the A level Chemistry assessment team at gce.sciences@pearson.com.

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