Science

Subject update | 4 December 2023

December 2023 Teaching Science update

Welcome to the December update for teachers delivering UK and International Pearson Edexcel Science qualifications at GCSE and A level. In this update you can find news and information to support you through the rest of this term. Items included in this update are provided below.

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Ofqual Consultation on Equation Sheets for GCSE Physics and Combined Science for Summer 2024

The Ofqual consultation on equation sheets for GCSE Physics and Combined Science ended on the 30 November.  We will be able to confirm arrangements for Summer 2024 exams once the outcome of the consultation has been released. You can stay up-to-date by visiting the Ofqual site, signing up to updates, and keeping an eye on our general qualifications assessment support page.

Visit the Ofqual Consulation page

Sign-up to Subject Advsior updates

Sign-up to GQ Bulletins

Visit the General Qualifications Assessment Support Page


Pearson Edexcel View from the Lab Podcasts

Every month we release Pearson Edexcel View from the Lab Podcasts. These aim to inform, engage and entertain with the help of thought leaders, science journalists and education specialists, joining us for each episode. The latest episode is titled 'Engaging with challenging behaviour in the classroom with Adele Bates'. In this episode Andy Woods is joined by the effervescent behaviour expert - Adele Bates.


Timetables

Timetables for this academic year can be viewed on our website.


Ofqual Guidance

On 21 September 2023, Ofqual published the resilience guidance for centres delivering: GCSE, AS and A levels, Project Qualifications and Advanced Extension Award in maths (AEA). We’ve put together a summary of this guidance on our new support page with links through to the full information from Ofqual.

The link to the Ofqual page allows you to read this guidance in full.

On 20 November, Ofqual published its updated guidance for schools, colleges and other exam or assessment centres on qualifications arrangements for 2024.  On the same day they also published their updated student guide for 2024. The guides cover both GCSEs, AS, A levels, other general qualifications, and vocational and technical qualifications.  

At the end of September, Ofqual wrote to all schools and colleges to outline the arrangements for grading and delivering results for vocational and technical qualifications in 2024. You can read the letter from the link below

General qualifications assessment support page

We’ve got a new support page for you to bookmark – General qualifications assessment support. Here we’ll share news information and updates from Ofqual, the Department for Education (DfE), the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) and Pearson, relating to the exams and assessments for our GCSE, AS and A level qualifications. We’ll be updating it regularly so you know you’ve got all the latest announcements, news, support materials and updates to enable you to teach our qualifications, help your students with their assessments and post-results support, to enable them to progress.

Pearson general qualifications bulletin are also sent regulary providing you with key information and updates on our qualifications and assessments for both UK and International centres. You can sign-up to recieve these from the link below.

Assessment Services

The Access to Scripts service allows you to view your candidates’ marked scripts online or download as PDFs, providing transparency of marking and to help you make decisions around requests for reviews of marking and inform future teaching and learning.

The Access to Scripts service provides a rich source of information, enabling detailed analysis to inform teaching and learning and support students, giving insights and visibility that performance data alone cannot provide.

The portal can only be accessed by Edexcel Online users who have the 'Exam Viewer' profile ticked on Edexcel Online. Your exams officer gives teachers access to 'Exam Viewer'.

Please note that these scripts do not contain examiners' annotations.

If scripts have been marked 'traditionally' (i.e. not online), you will need to request them, free of charge, by the published deadline, via the Post Results section of Edexcel Online as in previous exam series.

Access To Scripts via Script Viewer is available from Results Day until 15 December 2023.

Candidate consent is required before requesting script copies, as per section 6.2.1 of the JCQ's Post-Results Services guide.  Candidate consent can only be obtained after results have been published.

Candidate consent forms can be found in Appendix B of the JCQ Post results Services document.

In June we introduced Multi-factor Authentication as Cyber security is increasingly in the news and deliberate attacks on centres are sadly becoming more common. That’s why Pearson is committed to working with all centres to ensure our digital interactions are as secure and risk-free as possible. In December of this year we’re rolling out a major enhancement to our current Edexcel Online Multi- Factor Authentication process. We will be moving away from the current email One Time Passcode (OTP) and will be asking Edexcel Online users to authenticate via an app on their smartphone or other compatible device. Each account user will use their own device (capable of operating authenticator apps such as Microsoft/ Google authenticator). We are taking the opportunity to remind colleagues that using a personal device will not result in Pearson collecting and/ or using any personal data, including a mobile phone number. If you need support with accessing a device, please talk to your centre leadership about how they can best support you. 

JCQ Guidance

On 15 September 2023 the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) updated its Instructions for the Conduct of Qualifications’ document for the 2023/24 academic year to provide more clarity to candidates, exam officers and teachers given recent changes in technology.

In particular, the use of calculators in exams has been updated in Section 10 ‘Using calculators’. The use of calculators applies to a number of different subjects so please do pass this information to all who need to read it.
Full details can be found in the in the booklet 'Instructions for conducting examinations 2023-2024' and a set of FAQs about using calculators on the JCQ website.

JCQ have produced new guidance for centres on cyber security in order to safeguard sensitive information, including personal student data, and to protect the integrity of secure assessments. In today's digital landscape, it is crucial to adhere to industry best practices to mitigate the risk of cyber threats. Please read the information provided by JCQ that includes key guidelines that align with industry standards and will help protect your digital assets.   

Examiner Vacancies

We're looking for knowledgeable and passionate individuals to become Pearson examiners for the 2024 exam series across a wide range of subjects. Becoming an examiner is a great way to deepen your subject expertise, spread your assessment knowledge within your department and acquire valuable insights into the assessment process, empowering you to better prepare your learners for their exams.  You can enjoy the convenience of working remotely, fitting it around your other commitments, and augmenting your income. It can also help you build your professional networks and benefit from opportunities for progression and continuous professional development.

BTEC news

You can read the latest BTEC Teaching Science update on the link below which contains infomation on Post-16 Level 3 BTEC reform webinairs and other items of interest.

We send out regular Vocational Qualification Bulletins to keep centres informed of our support and services. You can sign-up for these and also read previous bulletins on our website.

Sign up to receive regular vocational qualification bulletins 

Read previous vocational qualification bulletins on our website

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