GCSE History mark scheme amendment: Level 2 stimulus cap | Pearson qualifications

GCSE History mark scheme amendment: Level 2 stimulus cap

15 September 2023

This update is to inform teachers that we have made a minor amendment to the GCSE History mark schemes, for first assessment Summer 2024.

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Level 2 stimulus cap removed

We have made a minor amendment to the stimulus points cap in the mark scheme – this has been approved by Ofqual. From exams in Summer 2024 onwards, the Level 2 cap will no longer exist on any question.

The stimulus cap remains unchanged for higher levels (eg Level 3 and 4).

The cap applies to the following questions which all contain stimulus points:

  • Explain why (12 marks) – Paper 1, Paper 2B, Paper 3
  • Judgment essay (16 marks) – Paper 1, Paper 2B
  • Narrative analysis (8 marks) – Paper 2P.

This means that Level 2 students can now achieve the top of the level without going beyond aspects prompted by the stimulus.

At present students in Level 2 who do not go beyond the stimulus are limited by the cap. For example, in a 'Judgment essay' a student who does not go beyond the stimulus would be limited to 7 marks, however with this change to the mark scheme they could score 8 marks. It's a small adjustment; the intention with the cap was to ensure higher-attaining students are rewarded for using wider contextual knowledge. The Level 2 cap was not supporting this intention and so we have been able to remove it.

This change will be discussed in more detail in the Summer 2023 feedback event running in the Autumn term.

Updated sample assessment materials

The amendment to the mark scheme applies immediately for all future GCSE History assessments, including Summer 2024.

The GCSE History sample assessment materials have now been updated on our website to reflect this change:

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If you have any questions about this amendment please email teachinghistory@pearson.com


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