March 2023 Geography Subject Update | Pearson qualifications

March 2023 Geography Subject Update

21 March 2023

The latest updates and news, reminders and advice, for Edexcel Geography teachers from your Subject Advisor, Jon Wolton

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Future improvements to GCSE Geography A and B


As part of our ongoing review of our qualifications, we've looked at the level of demand and accessibility of our GCSE Geography specifications and assessments and in response to this, we’re exploring making the following improvements.

For the 2023 exams we’ve: 

  • made minor changes to the phrasing of questions to make the wording clearer to students, this includes some of our 8 mark extended response questions. Our command words and question styles remain the same, so there's no need to change your exam preparation for students,

  • added additional instructions to candidates to remind them to refer to resources in their responses in some of our 8-mark extended response and Explain/Suggest questions, 

  • reviewed the level of detail in resources used in our exams to ensure information is accessible.

SPaG marks from 2024 onwards

We’ve also reviewed where the SPaG marks sit in our question papers to improve the accessibility of these marks. For candidates sitting Specification A the SPaG marks will be moved to the final 8-mark extended response question in Section B of Papers 1 and 2. The SPaG marks in Paper 3 will remain on the 12-mark ‘Discuss’ question item at the end of Question 5. For candidates sitting Specification B the SPaG marks will remain on the final 8-mark extended response question in Section B of Papers 1 and 2 and the final 12-mark ‘Justify’ question at the end of Paper 3. 

Future qualification improvements

Our aim is to improve the accessibility of our specifications and assessments for all learners, so we’re also going to be consulting with schools on other future improvements, including: 

  • alternative styles of extended response questions, 

  • the language of our specifications including geographical terms that are outdated or problematic. 

We’d love to hear your thoughts on our GCSE Geography qualifications to help us understand better what is working well and how we can improve. We’ll use this information to develop our improvements to the specifications and assessments. If you’d like to share your feedback, please complete our GCSE Geography survey.

We’ll be in touch again later in the summer with more information. In the meantime, look out for our program of professional development events for geography in 2023. Finally, if you haven’t done so already, please sign-up to receive my Subject Advisor updates so you can stay up to date with the latest qualification news and updates.

2023 Fieldwork Statement

A reminder that a Fieldwork Statement from centres is required again in 2023 to confirm that your geographers have done the compulsory fieldwork for GCSE Geography, AS Geogrpahy, A level Geography and International AS Level Geography. No fieldwork statement is required for International GCSE Geography.

Fieldwork Statement Forms can be found on the relevant qualifcation page under 'Forms and administration' or as an appendix in the relevant specification.

Your Fieldwork Statement must be submitted using the link below:

Reminder on A level Geogarphy Coursework / NEA mark submission via Edexcel Online

Please enter the student marks you awarded to ALL your students on Edexcel Online by 15 May. For each student you should submit the raw mark out of 70.

You should be able to start submitting marks from March 2023 but you won’t be able to view the requested sample until mid-April 2023 (when you log in to Edexcel Online and go to the coursework mark submission screen there will be a tick next to the candidates' names that need to be submitted for moderation).  

Reminder to submit your Coursework / NEA via Learner Work Transfer Portal (LWT) 

Just like last year you will need to submit all A level Geography coursework / NEA samples via the digital Learner Work Transfer portal and there is no hard copy submission of coursework samples in Summer 2023. 

We have created a guidance document for teachers to provide more information and guidance on the process. The document outlines the different ways in which you can submit samples online. It may have implications on how you asj students to submit their coursework ie digitally.

Tip: Remember that you can either annotate the Independent Investigation Mark Sheet (using the comments box) rather than the actual coursework if it helps with end to end digital submission of the coursework (rather than printing and then scanning of work). 

On demand A level Coursework Marking Training

Reminder, as many colleagues will be marking Independent Investigation now, about our on demand marking training which is split into four modules.

Download each module below:

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GCSE Geography Summer 2022 additional exemplar booklets

We have produced some additional GCSE Geography exemplar booklets from the Summer 2022 exam series and we have one booklet of exemplars per paper. The focus is on exemplifying the different types of 8 mark extended response questions and Explain/Suggest 3- or 4-mark questions. They are now available to download from the qualification page under ‘Exemplar student material’

You can also find them below:

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GCSE and A level Network Event Recordings and materials

We recently ran network events for GCSE and A level Geography. You can download a link to the video recording of and the event materials for each on our website:

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