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Consultations on French, German and Spanish GCSE Subject Content and Assessment Arrangements now Live!

Qualification news |

We know that you're busy thinking about your 2021 cohort but we didn’t want you to miss this important news in the MFL world. We're here to bring you key highlights from two consultations, which look beyond the current Covid related exam changes.

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In November 2019, the Department for Education announced that it would be convening an expert panel to develop potential changes to the subject content for French, German and Spanish GCSEs. The panel’s recommendations have informed a revised subject content document which is now available and open for public consultation until May 19.   

MFL GCSE subject content

At the same time, Ofqual is consulting on the assessment arrangements, including assessment objectives and their weightings, with the same deadline.

Top headlines from both consultations  

The revised subject content proposes that: 

  • the new GCSE specifications would include a vocabulary list and the Listening extracts and Reading texts in the Foundation GCSE would include only vocabulary from that list.  At Higher, only 2% of words in Listening extracts and Reading texts could be from outside that list and would be glossed
  • those vocabulary lists would consist of 1200 words at Foundation and 1700 words at Higher and would not assume any prior learning from Primary or Key Stage 3
  • 90% of words on the vocabulary lists would be drawn from the 2000 most frequently used words in the language (according to an internationally recognised corpora e.g. the Routledge Frequency Dictionary of Spanish/French/German)
  • listening extracts and Reading texts would only include grammar from the pre-defined grammar list in the subject criteria
  • sound-spelling correspondence (or Phonics) would be included as a requirement and the GCSE would include a dictation task and a reading aloud task. 

Access the Department for Education consultation - GCSE MFL subject content review

The revised assessment arrangements propose that: 

  • the current 4 GCSE Assessment Objectives (Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening) would be replaced with the 3 from the current A-level (e.g. AO1 Understand and respond to spoken language in speaking and in writing). 
  • tiering would be maintained and mixed tiering would continue to not be allowed. 

Access the Ofqual consultation - Revised GCSE qualifications in modern foreign languages

Tell us what you think

At Pearson, we'd like to gauge your understanding of and your reactions towards the potential changes. Therefore, we invite you to fill out a very short survey where you can share your thoughts and feedback. 

Complete the survey

Further information and opinions

We will be hosting a webinar to walk through the proposed changes on April 21. You can book your place now.

The Association for Language Learning is hosting 2 webinars about the consultation - the first on March 25. GCSE content reviews webinars

National Centre for Excellence in Languages Pedagogy’s (NCELP) - GCSE subject content review consultation    

You can also read:

Steve Smith’s blog

Transform MFL blog.

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