April 2024 Religious Studies subject update | Pearson qualifications

April 2024 Religious Studies subject update

22 April 2024

Welcome to your Pearson Edexcel Religious Studies April 2024 subject update!

I hope you had a relaxing break and are refreshed ready for the upcoming term! 

I wanted to take the opportunity to share (and reshare) some useful resources with you in the run up to exams.   As always, please do get in touch with me if you have any queries or I can help with anything.  

Best wishes, 

Susan Currey

Religious Studies Subject Advisor 

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If you have any questions, then please do contact me:

☎ Call: 0344 463 2535

✉ Email: TeachingReligiousStudies@pearson.com

This update includes:

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General Qualification Updates

2024 Exam Timetables

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I wanted to re-share a copy of the exam timetables so that you had easy access to them as we enter the exam period.  You can access these for each qualification below:

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Help your students feel as prepared as possible for the upcoming exam season.

In addition to all the support you provide, both Ofqual, JCQ and Pearson have a range of information to help inform and guide your students during this busy time. Please take a look at the information we’ve summarised below and pass it on to your students.

Support from Ofqual

The Ofqual Student Guide 2024 provides students with information about this year’s arrangements for GCSE, AS and A level qualifications, and explains what support is in place when taking exams and assessments.

Read the Ofqual Student Guide 2024 below:

Support from JCQ

The JCQ has a range of information and support for students – from coursework and onscreen exams to written exams, along with a checklist for exam day.

Take a look at all the support JCQ have to offer for students - see link below

Support from Pearson

As the revision season is now fully under way and students begin to turn their focus towards the summer exam series, we’d like to share our Getting ready for exams guide that includes some top tips and advice including:

- preparing for exams
- what happens on exam day
- where to find further support
- what happens once exams are over.

Take a look at the guide below and please pass it on to your students 

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GCSE

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GCSE Religious Studies (Specifications A and B)

As we gear up for the final preparations for GCSE exams this summer, I thought it would be useful to re-share with you some useful resources available to support you.  

Specification A

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As we gear up for the final preparations for GCSE exams this summer, I thought it would be useful to re-share with you some useful resources available to support you.  

Specification B

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Following the amends made to the level descriptors, we have received some queries regarding the awarding of Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar (SPaG) in relation to our updated level descriptors. The (d) exemplars we have recently released have not included SPaG marks to provide focus and clarity on the marks available against the amended level descriptors.

We wanted to reassure you that the level descriptors for SPaG are not changing.

They remain:

Mark Performance Descriptor
0 marks No marks awarded
  • The candidate writes nothing.
  • The candidate’s response does not relate to the question.
  • The candidate’s achievement in SPaG does not reach the threshold performance level, for example errors in spelling, punctuation and grammar severely hinder meaning.
1 mark Threshhold performance
  • Candidates spell and punctuate with reasonable accuracy.
  • Candidates use rules of grammar with some control of meaning and any errors do not significantly hinder meaning overall.
  • Candidates use a limited range of specialist terms as appropriate.
2 marks Intermediate performance
  • Candidates spell and punctuate with considerable accuracy.
  • Candidates use rules of grammar with general control of meaning overall.
  • Candidates use a good range of specialist terms as appropriate.
3 marks High performance
  • Candidates spell and punctuate with consistent accuracy.
  • Candidates use rules of grammar with effective control of meaning overall.
  • Candidates use a wide range of specialist terms as appropriate.

These additional SPaG marks are still only available on questions which assess ‘Beliefs and teachings’, and ‘Practices’/’Living the religious life’ sections of the exam (across all papers).

To further reassure and support teachers in understanding the requirement for the additional SPaG marks available, we wanted to share some exemplars to show how SPaG marks are awarded and what this looks like across the mark range. We hope you find them useful!

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To support teachers understand the expectations regarding 4-mark 'Explain' questions, I have created the following bitesize video:

Pearson Edexcel GCSE Religious Studies: AO1 Explain questions
Play
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We are now offering a mock marking and moderation service for GCSE Religious Studies.  

The Pearson Edexcel Mocks Service can help your students gain vital insight into the examination process, while saving you valuable time.  These services will be using the amended level descriptors to give you the opportunity to see how questions perform under the new criteria.  

These services are currently available to order now for the following most popular papers:

Specification A: Paper 1A, Paper 2F, Paper 3A

Specification B: Paper 1B, Paper 2C

*You can request other papers on an ad-hoc basis

 

What is the Mocks Service?

The Mocks Service for GCSE Religious Studies helps you to achieve consistency in marking across groups of schools, departments and cohorts. Students sit exam papers. The papers are marked by Edexcel senior examiners applying the new level descriptors and the results are uploaded to ResultsPlus for detailed question level analysis.

It is designed to be flexible for your needs:

  • Submit entries for the whole qualification or only entries for one paper
  • Submit your whole cohort, cohorts across the Trust, a sample, or as few as 5 papers

What is the Moderation Service?

Our moderation service helps support teacher understanding of the Pearson Edexcel mark scheme and provide confidence that marking is consistent across schools, departments and cohorts. Our moderators supply commentaries and reports to help identify areas that need improvement and that could benefit from additional CPD.

We recommend you submit a sample of around 15% of your own marked papers which will be reviewed by our team of Pearson Edexcel moderators. Within 21 days of us receiving your papers, we will provide personalised script commentaries and a detailed moderation report outlining trends and gaps in marking and feedback on student responses.

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International GCSE RS

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International GCSE Religious Studies

The International GCSE Religious Studies team at Pearson Edexcel would like to hear your views about our current International GCSE Religious Studies qualification.

As part of our improvements work, we will be meeting with a series of stakeholders to understand their views on the current specification and assessment.  

If you'd like to have your voice heard and would be willing to have a short 15-minute Teams to discuss your views, please complete the following form:

Please note that as part of this research, we will not collecting any personal information. We will only use the information you provide in connection to this piece of research, and we will not publish or share this information with any third party.

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AS and A Level Religious Studies

Video: Differences in AO2 questions at A level

A guidance video is now available which explores the differences in questions which assess AO2 at A level Religious Studies.  

Play
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Enrichment and Teaching and Learning Support

Every month, we release an edition of 'Topic of the Month' with the aim of supporting cultural capital and stimulating discussion within the classroom. 

Each edition ties a current news event to our qualification content and enables students to see the bigger picture of what they are learning and how it relates to the world around them.  Each edition includes a link to an article alongside some key discussion questions to encourage thought around the subject.  

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TOTM

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Seneca offers free podcasts to help you learn what you need to know for your GCSE RS exams.  These cover a range of topics and can be accessed through a range of different platforms.  

To support the teaching of Buddhism, there are a range of educational resources available on the 'Windows into Buddhim' website.  These are organised by age group and topic and may be useful for those teaching GCSE or A level Buddhism.    

Webinar for Teachers: Why do we suffer?

Windows into Buddhism are running a webinar for teachers looking at the question 'Why do we suffer?'

Thursday 2nd May (16:00-17:00) GMT+1

I hope you found this update useful. 

Please get in touch with me if you have any questions!

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