January 2024 Teaching Science update

19 January 2024

Welcome to the January update for teachers delivering UK and International Pearson Edexcel Science qualifications. In this update you can find news and information to support you with the delivery of our Science qualifcations. Information included in this update is listed below.

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Ofqual consultation outcome on Equation Sheets for GCSE Physics and Combined Science for Summer 2024

As confirmed in a recent Ofqual consultation, students sitting GCSE Physics and GCSE Combined Science will be provided with an equation sheet in Summer 2024 exams: 

Read recent Ofqual consultation outcome on equation sheets  
 
The equation sheet will be provided as an insert in the exam papers, as it was in the Summer 2023 examination series. It is also now possible from the link below to view and download the equation sheet from the Pearson Science qualification page so students may become familiar with it ahead of the exams.

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Equation sheets for International GCSE Physics, Science Double Award and Science Single Award

The Ofqual announcement above relates specifically to UK GCSE qualifications, but the same approach is being taken for International GCSE Physics, and International GCSE Science Double and Science Single Awards (physics papers) where students will also have access to a revised equation sheet for Summer 2024 exams. The equation sheets for these qualifications will be uploaded on the qualification pages soon. In the meantime, the equation sheets used in 2023 can be referred to for exam practice and revision. Links to these are provided below.


Event - GCSE Physics: Five ways to supercharge your Physics teaching

05 March 2024 at 16:00 - 17:30 GMT | Free

YouTuber and physics expert Lewis Matheson will be presenting some key ideas to help improve physics delivery for the GCSE Combined Science Physics content, especially if you are a non-specialist teacher. The session will include:

  • Five key topics of physics that are often hard to teach/understand
  • Ways to approach each topic if you are teaching it for the first time, or you are a non-specialist teacher
  • Examples of practical approaches that enhance the material
  • Preparing students for questions on each topic to build confidence
  • Tips and tricks to help students with the inevitable equations that many find challenging.

Find out more and register your place


GCSE Combined Science Summer 2023 feedback videos

During the Autumn term we hosted Summer 2023 feedback events that looked at how students performed in the summer exams and provided guidance on how to address feedback provided in examiners' reports. We now have Combined Science Chemistry and Physics videos of these events that can be accessed from the Science Emporium YouTube channel.

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Event - A Level Sciences: Understanding our exams

We are running events this Spring term for teachers delivering the Pearson Edexcel A Level Science specifications. As these events delegates will:

  • look at how our question papers are designed to test the specification content
  • understand how and why markers are standardised to mark exam papers
  • see some examples of mark schemes applied to recent exam questions
  • consider some strategies to improve how students respond to exam questions
  • address common issues and FAQs.

Dates and times for these events are as follows:

  • Pearson Edexcel A Level Biology A: Understanding our exams 04 March 2024 at 16:00 - 18:00 GMT
  • Pearson Edexcel A Level Biology B: Understanding our exams05 March 2024 at 16:00 - 18:00 GMT
  • Pearson Edexcel A Level Chemistry: Understanding our exams05 March 2024 at 16:00 - 18:00 GMT
  • Pearson Edexcel A Level Physics: Date and time to be announced soon on our training page

Please note: a recording of the event will be available to attendees only.


Pearson Edexcel View from the Lab Podcasts

Every month we release Pearson Edexcel View from the Lab Podcasts. These aim to inform, engage and entertain with the help of thought leaders, science journalists and education specialists, joining us for each episode.

This month we’re talking electricity and the wonderful world of circuits with former teacher and ‘current’ entrepreneur Julian Hamm! Julian has been fascinated by the world of Physics and especially circuits for much of his working life.  Through his pioneering site ‘furry elephant’ to its current incarnation – electricityexplained.com, Julian has dedicated himself to demystifying this area of the science curriculum. 

In this episode we have a deep-dive conversation in how science teachers can model and explain the common topics that come up in the senior school level.


Timetables

Timetables for this academic year can be viewed on our website.

We will also be publishing our provisional timetables for Summer 2025 on Monday 22nd January as agreed by JCQ and all other awarding bodies. They can be found on our Provisional timetables web page. The consultation window for the provisional timetables will run from Monday 22nd January to Friday 23rd February. Please send any feedback you may have to Timetables@Pearson.com


International GCSE results day for the November series

Results day for the November series will be Thursday 25 January for International GCSE.  Our regular post-results services will be available from this date. You can also find out about Access-to-Scripts, Results Plus and Appeals in the 'Assessment Services' section of this update.


Modular International GCSEs

We will be introducing soon modular International GCSE specifications for overseas students. The specifications will be available to view in April. More information can be obtained from the link below:

Go to the modular International GCSE webpage

These modular qualifications are for first teaching from September 2024 with first assessment May/June 2025.

The present linear specifications are not being removed and will continue to be available. There will simply be a choice between the existing specifications following the linear assessment route, or the new specifications, that will follow a modular assessment route. Please note, the modular assessment route will not be available for students based in the UK.

International GCSE Science and IAL Science training

You can view current training opportunities and look out for new training events on our  Professional Development Academy page.

Ofqual guidance

On 21 September 2023, Ofqual published the resilience guidance for centres delivering: GCSE, AS and A levels, Project Qualifications and Advanced Extension Award in maths (AEA). We’ve put together a summary of this guidance on our new support page with links through to the full information from Ofqual.

The link to the Ofqual page allows you to read this guidance in full.

On 20 November, Ofqual published its updated guidance for schools, colleges and other exam or assessment centres on qualifications arrangements for 2024.  On the same day they also published their updated student guide for 2024. The guides cover both GCSEs, AS, A levels, other general qualifications, and vocational and technical qualifications.  

At the end of September, Ofqual wrote to all schools and colleges to outline the arrangements for grading and delivering results for vocational and technical qualifications in 2024. You can read the letter from the link below

General qualifications assessment support page

For this academic year we have a general qualifications assessment support page. Here you can find news information and updates from Ofqual, the Department for Education (DfE), the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) and Pearson that relate to exams and assessments for our GCSE, AS and A level qualifications. It will be updated regularly with the latest announcements, news, support materials and updates to enable you to teach our qualifications and help your students with assessments and post-results support.

Pearson general qualifications bulletins are also sent regularly providing you with key information and updates on our qualifications and assessments for both UK and International centres. You can sign-up to receive these from the link below.

Assessment services

You can get a detailed breakdown of your students’ results through ResultsPlus, our online results analysis service. Take a look at our ResultsPlus video that provides you with an overview of how ResultsPlus can help you learn more about how your students’ performance compares with class and Pearson Edexcel national averages. 

The Access to Scripts service allows you to view your candidates’ marked scripts online or download as PDFs, providing transparency of marking and to help you make decisions around requests for reviews of marking and inform future teaching and learning.

The Access to Scripts service provides a rich source of information, enabling detailed analysis to inform teaching and learning and support students, giving insights and visibility that performance data alone cannot provide.

The portal can only be accessed by Edexcel Online users who have the 'Exam Viewer' profile ticked on Edexcel Online. Your exams officer gives teachers access to 'Exam Viewer'.

Please note that these scripts do not contain examiners' annotations.

If scripts have been marked 'traditionally' (i.e. not online), you will need to request them, free of charge, by the published deadline, via the Post Results section of Edexcel Online as in previous exam series.

Access To Scripts via Script Viewer is available from Results Day.

Candidate consent is required before requesting script copies, as per section 6.2.1 of the JCQ's Post-Results Services guide.  Candidate consent can only be obtained after results have been published.

Candidate consent forms can be found in Appendix B of the JCQ Post results Services document.

From 1 January 2024, we are pleased to confirm that there will be a new web form for centres and private candidates to use when they wish to submit an application to appeal or request a review of an administrative decision. Using this web form will help to guide centres and private candidates in the information that needs to be provided in an application to appeal. This will help us to ensure we can process all applications promptly.

The web form will be available on our main Post-results web page, and from 1 January 2024, we will no longer accept appeal applications that are made directly to our appeals email inbox. Appeals submitted to the inbox prior to 01 January 2024 will be processed. We will return any applications to appeal that are sent to our appeals inbox from 01 January 2024 to you with a request to submit them using the web form.

Centres and private candidates must use the web form to submit appeals related to:

1. the outcome of reviews of marking/moderation (within 30 calendar days of the date of the decision)
2. the decisions made in relation to student or centre malpractice (within 14 calendar days of the date of the decision)
3. the decisions made in relation to access arrangements, special consideration, reasonable adjustments (within 14 calendar days of the date of the decision)
4. the outcome of a preliminary appeal in any of the areas above. An application for an appeal hearing must only be made once a preliminary appeal has been conducted and must be made within 14 calendar days of the date of the preliminary appeal decision.

Centres and private candidates must also use the web form to request the review of an administrative decision in areas such as decisions made in relation to very late arrivals and where we have issued an aegrotat (estimated grade).

Further information on the appeals process can be found in the JCQ Appeals Booklet 2023. Further information on appeals, including fees, can also be found on our website

General queries about issues that are not appeals should not be submitted on the appeals webform as we will not be able to process them. If you need help with a matter that is not an appeal, please contact our customer services team for assistance. This will ensure your query can be routed to the appropriate team without delay.

In June we introduced Multi-factor Authentication as Cyber security is increasingly in the news and deliberate attacks on centres are sadly becoming more common. That’s why Pearson is committed to working with all centres to ensure our digital interactions are as secure and risk-free as possible. In December of this year we rolled out a major enhancement to our current Edexcel Online Multi- Factor Authentication process. We will be moving away from the current email One Time Passcode (OTP) and will be asking Edexcel Online users to authenticate via an app on their smartphone or other compatible device. Each account user will use their own device (capable of operating authenticator apps such as Microsoft/ Google authenticator).

We are taking the opportunity to remind colleagues that using a personal device will not result in Pearson collecting and/ or using any personal data, including a mobile phone number. If you need support with accessing a device, please talk to your centre leadership about how they can best support you. 

JCQ guidance

On 15 September 2023 the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) updated its Instructions for the Conduct of Qualifications’ document for the 2023/24 academic year to provide more clarity to candidates, exam officers and teachers given recent changes in technology.

In particular, the use of calculators in exams has been updated in Section 10 ‘Using calculators’. The use of calculators applies to a number of different subjects so please do pass this information to all who need to read it.
Full details can be found in the in the booklet 'Instructions for conducting examinations 2023-2024' and a set of FAQs about using calculators on the JCQ website.

JCQ have produced new guidance for centres on cyber security in order to safeguard sensitive information, including personal student data, and to protect the integrity of secure assessments. In today's digital landscape, it is crucial to adhere to industry best practices to mitigate the risk of cyber threats. Please read the information provided by JCQ that includes key guidelines that align with industry standards and will help protect your digital assets.   

Examiner vacancies

We're looking for knowledgeable and passionate individuals to become Pearson examiners for the 2024 exam series across a wide range of subjects. Becoming an examiner is a great way to deepen your subject expertise, spread your assessment knowledge within your department and acquire valuable insights into the assessment process, empowering you to better prepare your learners for their exams.  You can enjoy the convenience of working remotely, fitting it around your other commitments, and augmenting your income. It can also help you build your professional networks and benefit from opportunities for progression and continuous professional development.

BTEC news

You can read the latest BTEC Teaching Science update on the link below.

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