Frequently asked questions

Find answers to the most commonly asked questions about our Edexcel GCSEs and Certificates in English.

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GCSE English Language

5EH01 English Today

Certificating November 2014 (5.11.14) Certificating summer 2015 (15.5.15) Certificating November 2015 (5.11.15) Certificating summer 2016 (15.5.16) Certificating November 2016 (5.11.16)
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5EN3A The Spoken Language

Certificating November 2014 (5.11.14) Certificating summer 2015 (15.5.15) Certificating November 2015 (5.11.15) Certificating summer 2016 (15.5.16) Certificating November 2016 (5.11.16)
Tasks marked ‘valid from June 2013 to November 2014’ Tasks marked ‘valid for summer 2015 and November 2015’ Tasks marked ‘valid for summer 2015 and November 2015’ Tasks marked ‘valid for summer 2016 and November 2016’ Tasks marked ‘valid for summer 2016 and November 2016’

I’ve realised I’ve done the wrong controlled assessment task with my students. What should I do?

You will need to carry out the correct task with your students. If you feel that there are exceptional circumstances that prevent you from doing so, please contact the assessment team by emailing emenglish@pearson.com.

In September 2015 for two-year courses or September 2016 for one-year courses, for post-16 students for example. The new GCSEs will be examined in summer 2017 for the first time. 

This qualification is available until summer 2016, with a re-take opportunity in November 2016. Students start one-year courses in September 2015, such as post-16 students, can take this qualification. 

Yes, November exam series from November 2017 are for students who were aged at least 16 on the preceding 31 August. 

International GCSEs from any awarding organisation count in performance table measures. Edexcel English Certificates will count in 2014, 2015 and, for the last time, in 2016.

Each Certificate is equivalent to a GCSE and, as such, until summer 2016, won’t be viewed as a non-GCSE qualification in the performance table rules.

The Certificate in English Language will receive the A*-C points for the maths and English indicator and will count towards the English Baccalaureate in the same way as GCSE English Language until summer 2015. From summer 2016, as with GCSE, there are new arrangements for English in performance measures. Please see the ‘Performance measures from summer 2016 (reported early 2017)’ section below.

On 24 July 2014, the DfE published an update on the types of qualifications to be counted in 2017 school performance tables. The only English qualifications that will count in the 2017 secondary school performance tables will be reformed GCSEs.

Yes, until summer 2016 Certificates and GCSEs can be offered interchangeably. However, only reformed GCSEs will count in school performance measures from summer 2017. 

No, on 24 July 2014, the DfE published an update on the types of qualifications to be counted in 2017 school performance tables. The only English qualifications that will count in the 2017 secondary school performance tables will be reformed GCSEs. 

Only the result of a student’s first attempt for subjects in the GCSE family - including Edexcel GCSE English, English Language and English Literature and Edexcel Level 1/Level 2 Certificates in English Language and English Literature - will count in school performance tables.

This affects Year 11 (academic year 2013-2014) whose results will appear in performance tables in January 2015, and all other students in Years 9 or 10 preparing to take English subjects in the GCSE family.

Students who attempted an English subject from the GCSE family before 29 September 2013 result will have the better of either their pre-29 September 2013 or their next attempt counted.

Schools should be aware that if students have attempted a GCSE or Certificate in English language, their English result will only count in performance measures; if they also attempt GCSE or Certificate English literature. Attempting GCSE English after having sat GCSE/Certificate in English language (post 29 September 2013) will result in the student not meeting the English performance measure.

As International GCSEs in English language and literature do not count in school performance measures, they are not affected by this rule.

Further details about this announcement, including guidance for schools making decisions about early entry at GCSE, are available from the Department for Education.

Since September 2010, and until November 2016, pupils can take:

• GCSE English or
• GCSE English Language plus GCSE English Literature*

GCSE English and GCSE English Language count as the English indicators for the headline measures:
% of pupils achieving the English Baccalaureate
% of pupils achieving five A*- C GCSEs including English and mathematics

* In order to meet the requirements to be counted as “English” for Performance Tables/English Baccalaureate, pupils must take both GCSE/Certificate in English Literature and English Language and achieve at least a grade C in English Language. This is to ensure that anyone achieving the Level 2 threshold has studied the whole English curriculum. The DFE has clarified that what they will count as an “entry” for English literature will be anything that is graded A*-G or U (but not X). This means students need to achieve A*-G or U (but not X) in GCSE English Literature for their English Language C grade or above to count.

You'll find a detailed list of the GCSEs that count towards the EBacc on the DfE website.

• English Studies, English Literature, English as a second language and Digital Communication are not included in the English Baccalaureate and do not satisfy the English element of the ‘basics’ indicator, but they count as a GCSE in the usual way. However, you should check which of these will be subject to discounting for performance table recognition against other available English qualifications.

There will be four key measures:

‘Progress 8’: students’ progress measured across eight subjects: English; mathematics; three other English Baccalaureate (EBacc) subjects (sciences, computer science, geography, history and languages); and three further subjects, which can be from the range of EBacc subjects, or can be any other approved, high-value arts, academic, or vocational qualification.

Attainment 8, showing pupils’ average achievement in the same suite of subjects as the Progress 8 measure.

English and mathematics. The percentage of pupils achieving a C grade or above in both English (either language or literature) and mathematics.

The EBacc. Showing the percentage of pupils achieving good grades across a range of academic subjects.
Schools can opt into the new system for the summer 2015 results (i.e. for students who started Year 10 in September 2013).

The points for English will only be doubled if the student has attempted* both GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature (or, in 2016 only, Edexcel Certificates). The double weighting will be applied to the better of the two grades. If double-weighted, English contributes 20% of the measure, while the remaining six subjects will each contribute 10% (mathematics also contributes 20 %). GCSE English will still be eligible to count in summer 2016, and will be automatically double-weighted because pupils will have studied both English Language and English Literature to achieve this qualification.

*An “attempt” for English Language or English Literature is currently defined as any result that is graded A*-G or U (but not X).

Students need to study both English Language and English Literature in order to meet the requirements of the English programmes of study: key stage 4, National curriculum in England (updated July 2014).

The new Progress 8 and Attainment 8 measures to be used from summer 2016 encourage students to enter both qualifications.

The points for English will be double weighted if the student has attempted* both GCSE English Language and English Literature (or, in 2016 only, Edexcel Certificates or GCSE English). The double weighting will be applied to the better of the two grades. If double weighted, English contributes 20% of the measure, as does mathematics, while the remaining six subjects will each contribute 10%.

If the student does not take English Literature alongside English Language, then there is no double weighting of points for English achievement. The English Language result will contribute only 10% towards the Progress 8 and Attainment 8 measures, and the overall measures will only have been 90% met - in effect the student's total points from across 9 subjects will still be divided by 10 to get an average grade achieved.

However, from summer 2016 the new headline measure for English and mathematics achievement can be met without the student having attempted both language and literature.

For the Ebacc separate measure, a pupil must study both English language and English Literature, and achieve a C grade or better in at least one of these qualifications, to satisfy the English requirement (in 2016, a C in Combined English would be sufficient).

*An “attempt” for English Language or English Literature is currently defined as any result that is graded A*-G or U (but not X).