Summer 2023: content and assessment arrangements

3 August 2022

This update concerns the content and assessment arrangements for GCSE, International GCSE History and A level History in Summer 2023.

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Earlier this year the Department for Education announced the return to full subject content and assessment coverage for GCSE subjects such as History in Summer 2023.

What this means for GCSE Edexcel History

In Summer 2022 GCSE History students could drop one topic from either Paper 1 or Paper 2. For Summer 2023, the Department for Education confirms the return to full subject content coverage for GCSE History – all four topics must be taught and assessed.

In Summer 2022 Paper 2 topics were split into two separate booklets assessed on different days. In Summer 2023 the Period study and British depth study topics will be assessed on the same day in two separate booklets. The total exam time will be 1hr 45 minutes. This is a return to the pre-pandemic Summer 2019 arrangement outlined in the specification and sample assessment materials.

We will try to ensure that one GCSE History paper takes place before May half-term to ensure increased spacing between exams is retained in case of further covid disruption.

Entry codes will revert to pre-pandemic Summer 2019 codes with the addition of new entry codes for Migrants in Britain (Paper 1). We will be updating the entry code calculator in the Autumn term. Please wait until the new entry codes are available on our website before providing them to your exams officer.

In Summer 2022 Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar (SPAG) was removed from Paper 1. In Summer 2023 the 4 SPAG marks will be assessed in Paper 1 Questions 5/6. This is a return to the pre-pandemic assessment arrangements outlined in the specification and sample assessment materials.

What this means for International GCSE History

In Summer 2022 International GCSE History students could drop one topic from either Paper 1 or Paper 2. For Summer 2023 we will be returning to full subject content coverage for Edexcel International GCSE History in line with the UK GCSE qualification – all four topics must be taught and assessed.

In Summer 2022 there were separate entry codes – A or B – depending on which topic was dropped. In Summer 2023 we will be reverting to the single entry code 4HI0, in addition to the regional R code used in certain countries.

In Summer 2023 the exam time for Paper 1 and Paper 2 will return to 1hr 30 minutes each, to reflect the fact that two topics are being assessed in each paper. This is a return to the pre-pandemic assessment arrangements outlined in the specification and sample assessment materials.

What this means for AS and A level History

In Summer 2022 AS and A level History students were provided with Advance Information, identifying the major focus of the exams which students could use to help focus their revision.

In Summer 2023 the Department for Education have stated that their “intention is to return to the carefully designed and well-established pre-pandemic assessment arrangements as quickly as possible, given they are they are the best and fairest way of assessing what students know and can do.”

Teachers should therefore plan and work on the basis that Summer 2023 will be a normal exam series with no Advance Information, however the DfE and Ofqual stated that they will “continue to monitor the path and impact of the pandemic and evaluate the delivery of arrangements this year, including the provision of exam aids, such as formulae sheets, and advance information to support students’ revision, before finalising 2023 arrangements.”

We will update teachers if we receive any further updates from the DfE and Ofqual on Summer 2023.

Summer 2023 support

For UK qualifications we will be running a series of network events in the Autumn term which will include feedback on Summer 2022 and provide an opportunity for teachers to share ideas and support in preparation for the Summer 2023 series. We will also provide training focused on specific aspects of content and assessment which will help teachers who haven’t taught a particular paper recently, such as a focus on GCSE History Paper 2 Period Studies which we know many teachers dropped due to the optionality in place. More details will be made available via our training pages soon.

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