A guide to GCSE controlled assessment this summer

27 February 2014

Below we have a reminder of the GCSE History controlled assessment submission process and dates, as well as materials to send to the moderator.  

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Whether you're new to the process or simply after a reminder of which forms to use, my latest update contains a quick summary of the administrative process involved. It includes a reminder of the deadlines, the materials you need to send to the moderator and lots of other useful advice and links.


Entry deadline

Your students must be entered for the controlled assessment unit or you will not be able to submit their marks. Our deadline for examination and controlled assessment entries in the summer 2014 examination series is 21 March 2014. However, your exams officer will have his/her own internal deadline so please make sure you're aware of it.

Submission deadline

The final date for submitting your GCSE History controlled assessment marks and samples of work for the summer 2014 series is 15 May 2014.

This is the date by which you must have submitted your GCSE History controlled assessment marks to us, and have sent your sample of student work to the moderator.

If you can't make the deadline, and have a good reason, you can request an extension by emailing the assessment team at history@pearson.com.

The next section considers some key questions you may have about administration.

How do I submit my controlled assessment marks to Pearson?

Your marks can be submitted on an OPTEMS form (an optically scanned mark sheet), or online via Edexcel Online/EDI.

OPTEMS mark sheets will start to arrive in schools in April 2014 for the summer series - usually after the Easter holidays. The OPTEMS form will contain the names of all the students you entered for controlled assessment in the summer 2014 series. If you haven't received your OPTEMS and the mark submission deadline is fast approaching, please ask your examinations officer for an update.

You can fill in your students' total raw marks (a raw mark out of 50) on the OPTEMS form. Please do not try to double the mark, convert them into UMS marks yourself, or submit them as a percentage on the OPTEMS! Please also remember that there are no separate additional marks for SPaG (Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar) in controlled assessment.

You need to send the top copy of the OPTEMS form to us. The address should be printed on the OPTEMS form and an envelope should have been provided for this purpose.

You keep a copy of the form for your own records and send a copy of the form to the moderator with the sample of work (the form is printed in triplicate).

Controlled assessment marks can also be submitted online. If you're submitting marks online, you must print out a copy of the marks for the moderator and for your own records. 

If you have already submitted a mark but it needs to be amended (for example, because of an administrative error), please email the assessment team at history@pearson.com with details of the amended point score. Identifying the sample of work that needs to be sent to the moderator 

On the OPTEMS mark sheet there will be an asterisk next to the name of each student whose work we want to see for moderation. You also need to send the work of the highest and lowest-scoring candidates if they are not part of the requested sample.

You can also check Edexcel Online to identify which work needs to be sent for moderation - there will be a tick next to the candidates' names. 

If, for some reason, you're unable to send the work for a particular student, you should send the work of an equivalent student with a similar mark. You should also write a note to the moderator explaining the reason for the change.

Please note that for controlled assessment submitted in summer 2014 you do not need to send the complete portfolio of work for one student - that is only a requirement for the new strengthened GCSE for assessment in summer 2015 onwards.

Who is my moderator?

As well as an OPTEMS form, you should also receive (via your examinations officer) a moderator address label and envelope with which to send the coursework sample.

What other materials need to be sent to the moderator?

As well as the OPTEMS and sample of student work, you should also send to the moderator the relevant students' notes, plans and bibliographies, a copy of your third representation and students' individual candidate authentication sheets.

Where is the mark scheme?

This may seem obvious, but we always get a lot of queries asking where the mark schemes are.

There are no topic-specific mark schemes for GCSE History controlled assessment.

For GCSE controlled assessment, there is only a generic mark scheme.

Where can I find exemplar work?

We have several examples of marked work available to help exemplify the mark scheme level descriptors.

Read examples of examplar work in the course materials section of our qualifications pages.

GCSE History A qualifications page.

GCSE History B qualifications page.

You can also watch a recording of an online standardisation event for GCSE History controlled assessment.

Do I need to carry out internal standardisation of marking?

In large centres with multiple teachers, it's essential that you carry out internal moderation before you finalise the coursework or controlled assessment marks. You should sample double-mark, selecting mark points within the same level from different teaching sets. The double marking should continue until you are satisfied that you have achieved comparability.
Small schools with only one teacher need not carry out internal standardisation.

How should I annotate the work?

It's important that you annotate the controlled assessment to show the moderator how you have interpreted the mark scheme and applied it to the students' work. 
Indications in the margins as to where specific assessment levels are perceived, together with summative comments at the end of each part of the coursework or controlled assessment, are ideal. 
You should mark and annotate the work in ink. Initial marking may be done in pencil until you're satisfied that you are applying the marking criteria accurately and consistently. Please then go over your marks and comments in ink.

What are the grade boundaries?

You should not attempt to grade the work. You should be marking the work by applying the marking criteria in a consistent manner.

The coursework grades will be awarded at the end of each examination series using the standard code of practice awarding process.

Grade boundaries are always published on the grade boundaries page of our website, and are available to download from results day. 
Please also remember that the mark you submit to us should be the total raw mark, not the UMS mark. The UMS marks are allocated by us as a result of the awarding process.
A score of zero should only be used if a candidate has submitted work that is found to meet none of the assessment criteria. An X should be used for any candidate who is absent.

Resitting linear GCSE and transferring controlled assessment marks

Summer 2014 is the first examination series for the linear GCSE qualification. If a student is resitting the entire GCSE History qualification in summer 2014 and they certificated in summer 2013 then they do not need to retake controlled assessment.

It is possible to transfer the controlled assessment mark across from the summer 2013 series. This only applies to students who certificated (claimed a GCSE qualification) in summer 2013 and are resitting the entire qualification in summer 2014. If this is the case it is not necessary to enter for the controlled assessment unit - just enter for the examined units plus the overall cash-in code and last summer's controlled assessment mark will transfer across automatically.

Teacher Support Booklets

Further support and guidance can be found in our teacher support booklets.

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E9 Moderator Report

While moderating your centre's coursework or controlled assessment, the moderator will write an E9 report which will provide you with detailed feedback on your marking and administration. You will be able to download this report on results day.

This guidance document shows you how to access your centre's E9 Moderator Report. If you are unable to access your report, please email me at teachinghistory@pearson.com, as I may need to amend your Edexcel Online account. Alternatively, ask your examinations officer for assistance. 
I hope you have found this update useful. If you have any further questions please contact me.



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