OCR Gateway GCSE Science FAQs
What has changed?
The new Science GCSEs have been revised to match the new criteria for GCSE science. Changes include:
Students must take at least 40% of the assessment of each specification in the final examination series when they certificate.
Learners may only re-sit once.
The better result for the two attempts at a unit counts, as long as the 40% terminal requirement is satisfied.
Each specification may have a maximum of four units, and each unit must carry a minimum weighting of 20%.
Controlled Assessment replaces coursework. This is set at 25% weighting.
Which specifications have been revised?
OCR has revised the following specifications to match the new Ofqual criteria for GCSE science from 2011:
GCSE Science B
GCSE Additional Science B
GCSE Additional Applied Science B
GCSE Biology B
GCSE Chemistry B
GCSE Physics B
Where can I find out more information on the new specifications?
Visit OCR at www.gcse-science.com for the latest information on the OCR Gateway GCSE Science specifications and to sign up to receive email updates.
Also, keep up-to-date with specification news by signing up to receive email updates. Simply email firstname.lastname@example.org your contact details to sign up.
What is controlled assessment?
Controlled assessment is coursework in a supervised environment/classroom and is replacing coursework. This has been introduced by QDCA, to address some of the issues raised in coursework reviews, such as plagiarism.
Who are the authors of the Gateway resources?
The Gateway authors are:
Graham Bone – Head of Physics in Exeter – experienced teacher, author and member of the Institute of Physics Education Committee
Simon Broadly – Experienced Biology teacher and Science Works author
David Goodfellow – Experienced chemistry teacher and author
Sue Hocking – Experienced biology teacher, chief examiner and author
Roy Llewellyn – Experienced physics teacher and author
Mark Matthews - Experienced Biology teacher and Science Works author
Jim Newall – Experienced Physics and maths author
Nigel Saunders – Experienced chemistry teacher and author
Angela Saunders – Experienced chemistry teacher and author
Do you publish resources for the new OCR Gateway GCSE Science specifications?
Yes. Our resources for OCR Gateway GCSE Science have been specifically developed for the needs of real students and teachers. We have created resources that build on the features of current resources that teachers like, whilst incorporating more assessment and extra help with delivery. It provides the simplest and clearest approach to help you implement the new specifications with ease.
I’m choosing OCR Gateway – but why should I choose your course?
We’re confident OCR Gateway GCSE Science is the best course for the 2011 specifications because we feel:
It’s the simplest and clearest approach of all resources available, containing all the support you need to teach the new specifications with ease to make the transition as smooth as possible
It provides comprehensive assessment and exam preparation to help your students understand what is expected of them and help improve their grades
It offers differentiation support so all students can reach their true potential – and you can spend your time where it is needed
It’s specifically designed to engage every student and draw out their interest in science
Where can I find out more information on the OCR Gateway GCSE Science resources?
Visit www.oxfordsecondary.co.uk/science for more information on the OCR Gateway GCSE Science resources.
You can also request you local Educational Consultant to come and visit you at your school. They can give you a without obligation demonstration of OCR Gateway GCSE Science. Call 01536 452620 to make an appointment.
How can I keep up-to-date on the latest developments?
Sign up to receive Science email updates at www.oxfordsecondary.co.uk/science.
I am on a limited budget… how do I afford OCR Gateway GCSE Science?
As every school has different resourcing needs and budgets, we strongly recommend that you contact your local Educational Consultant who will be delighted to discuss the best way forward for you and your students. Visit www.oxfordsecondary.co.uk/repfinder to find details of your local Educational Consultant or call 01536 452620.
Where can I find answers to the summary questions in the Student Book?
The answers are available in the printed Resources and Planning pack, and on the matching OxBox CD-ROMs.
How comprehensive are the graded model answers? Is there more focus around the C/D borderline for example or are there equal amounts between Foundation and Higher?
For each module in Gateway (so 6 per student book) we provide an extended answer question with answers at three response levels and corresponding examiner comments. These give equal weight to understanding the G-E, C-D and B-A* boundaries, so that students of any level can aim for the next grade band up.
In addition the Exam Preparation and Assessment OxBox includes 6 Upgrade presentations to work through with the class for every module (so 36 per title). These include similar information, but also with references to the specification.
There are also Upgrade interactive activities that allow students to understand the different levels of response, and get auto marked on the “good” and “bad” way to put answers together while also gaining a greater understanding of how to answer exam questions to get the best grade possible.
On top of this there are practice printed exam-style tests (1 Foundation and 1 Higher) per module (so 12 per title), with full mark schemes. All of this is in addition to the usual banks of auto-marked questions and the self-assessment checklist that helps students make the transition from KS3 to GCSE and then between GCSE modules.
What do the Gateway Student Books offer to stretch students working towards the top A-A* grades?
We have flagged questions for all ability levels linked to grades that allow students and teachers to understand the level they are working at on every spread in the book.
In short we are not just helping the best and the brightest understand whether they are an A* or not, but imbedding throughout the course the ability to understand what could make you achieve a better grade no matter what grade you are aiming for (so everything from the lowest to the highest).
But for the very brightest it’s worth remembering that a major complaint in our research with teachers and examiners about the current GCSEs was that the brightest students drop marks on simple questions by not understanding the question. This is as big a problem as not understanding the content of the hardest questions.
Alongside the summary questions we are offer the following, all of which enables students to understand how to approach questions of any level properly.
Student Book Exam-style Questions: in the summary pages of every part of the book there are questions provided at three ability levels, including the B-A* band.
Student Book ‘Upgrade’ pages: These include examiner comments so that students at every level can understand how to improve and get the grade they are aiming for by knowing what answers look like at all levels for comparison against the best answers.
Assessment OxBox Print Tests: Printable exam-style tests for students will always include questions at all levels and a mark scheme for teachers to use with them. These are the same style questions they will have to tackle in exams, so the best form of practice for the new specifications.
Assessment OxBox ‘Upgrade’ PowerPoint presentations: We provide step by step explanations of exam questions of all kinds and levels, with sample student responses and examiner comments. This is a key area of concern from schools, and they want students not to lose grades on simple questions as much as they want them to get the hardest questions right. Understanding the questions is key.
Are there eBooks in the back of the Student Books?
Yes, there are eBooks included in the back of every Gateway student book.
How do I order an Evaluation Pack?
There are three quick ways to order an Evaluation Pack:
1. Email email@example.com with your contact details
2. Call customer services on +44 (0) 1536 452620
3. Fax your request to +44 (0) 1865 313472
How long do I have to evaluate the course?
The OCR Gateway GCSE Science Evaluation Pack is available on 90 days’ free evaluation so you will have plenty of time to look at the material and try it out in the classroom. After this time you can either keep it or return it to us free of charge.
How many visual resources are there on the OxBox CD-ROMs and the Online Homework?
The OxBox CD-ROMs and Online Homework site contain approximately 50 videos and animations, approximately 100 interactive activities, and approximately 100 content PowerPoint Presentations.
Is there any overlap between the Assessment OxBox CD-ROMs and the Online Homework?
No, there is no overlap in content – the tasks on the OxBox CD-ROMs are different from those on the Online Homework.
Are there practical activities in every lesson supported by the Resources and Planning Pack and the Resources and Planning OxBox CD-ROMs?
The Resources and Planning Packs contain at least one activity per lesson, and every lesson matches a spread in the Student Book. Not all of these are practical in the sense of requiring science equipment; some instead are paper-based or research-based. Each activity is designed to support the specification in the best way possible, while also engaging students.
Are there 'easy print' and ‘print all’ options available on the OxBox CD-ROMs for printing worksheets and similar resources?
Yes, there is an easy print option on each of the OxBox CD-ROMs. For each module the pages are grouped as: Lesson Plans, Activity Sheets, Teacher and Technician Sheets and Homework sheets.
Are there any cover lessons on the OxBox?
Yes, cover lessons are included on the OxBox as well as in the printed Resources and Planning Pack.
Where is the student feedback for the summative and homework tests held on the Assessment and Exam Preparation OxBox CD-ROMs?
This will be held on the system and saved so students can find out their overall mark as well as review errors on individual questions within each test.
Are there both higher and foundation questions on the Assessment OxBox CD-ROMs for each topic?
Yes, we have end of module printed exam-style tests at Higher and Foundation levels, and Upgrade questions and interactive activities with differentiated answers so students know what they need to understand about questions.
How are the new extended writing questions covered on the OxBox CD-ROMs with the summative and formative format?
Across the suite our support for the new extended answers is as follows:
Student Book Exam-style Questions: in the summary pages of every part of the book there are questions provided in the extended writing style for students of any ability to practice.
Student Book ‘Upgrade’ pages: These include an extended writing question for each part of the book with three student responses and three examiner comments. The aim of this is to help students understand what good and bad answers are.
Assessment OxBox Print Tests: Printable exam-style tests for students will always include extended writing questions and a mark scheme for teachers to use with them.
Assessment OxBox ‘Upgrade’ PowerPoint presentations: Along with other question types we are providing step by step explanations of extended writing exam questions, with sample student responses and examiner comments.
Assessment OxBox Extended Writing Interactive Activity: designed to allow students to understand the different levels of response, and get auto marked on the “good” and “bad” way to put answers together while also gaining a greater understanding of how to answer exam questions to get the best grade possible
Are all the questions on the Online Homework multiple choice or will some questions ask students for extended answers?
Students will not be asked for extended answers as it is still very difficult to get these automatically marked in a reliable way, but the questions are more involved than simple multiple choice. There are various question types.
Can you create your own homework activities using Online Homework?
It is not possible to create your own homework using this system but you can review the range of pre-written homework activities and then assign them to classes of students or individual students or groups within the class.
If homework tasks are set using the Online Homework, does the student receive an email to say they have homework waiting? Does the teacher receive an email when the student finishes a homework task?
The Online Homework works like any other homework, with the teacher instructing the class to check the website for assigned work, rather than asking them to complete a worksheet, write up a practical, etc. However, an email notification is something we are considering building into later versions.
Is the Online Homework stored on a separate server?
Yes, the Online Homework is hosted on an Oxford University Press server, with the site and the student results being stored remotely from the school.
Can the Director of Learning monitor teachers to see if homework was being set and completed?
The Director of Learning can look in detail at all groups and obtain detailed data on what has been set, what has been completed, and the results.
Is the Online Homework differentiated?
Yes, the Online Homework activities are differentiated into Higher and Foundation but do share the same initial questions.
Do the separate Biology, Chemistry and Physics Online Homework sites contain the same homework activities as GCSE Science and GCSE Additional Science?
Yes. In addition the separate Biology, Chemistry and Physics Online Homework sites also contain homework activities for the extra separate science modules. The homework activities are differentiated into higher and foundation.
Changes to GCSE Science
Ofqual has confirmed that they have made changes to GCSEs in England for teaching from September 2012. These are to implement the policy aims set out by the Department for Education in the 2010 White Paper: The Importance of Teaching.
The reforms are designed to:
Ensure that GCSE examinations are taken at the end of the course
Remove the potential for re-sittings of units
Give greater account to spelling, punctuation and grammar
The key change to affect GCSE Science is students will be required to take all GCSE assessments at the end of the course for awards made from summer 2014, and this will be restricted to the summer only. This change affects all students starting two-year courses in September 2012 and all students that started three-year course from September 2011.
Does the new 100% terminal requirement apply from the date a student starts the course, or the date of first examination entry, or the certification date?
The proposed change will apply to the certification date. Students who apply for certification of subject awards in summer 2013 (or earlier) will be permitted to enter in a modular way. Students who apply for certification from summer 2014 onwards will be required to sit all their examinations at the end of the course.
How do these changes affect students who started three-year GCSE courses in September 2011?
Students who are applying for GCSE science subject awards in 2014 will be required to sit all their examinations at the end of the course. Therefore, students who started three separate sciences from September 2011 over 3 years can only be assessed terminally in summer 2014.
How do these changes affect students starting two-year courses from September 2012?
Students studying GCSE Science from September 2012 will be assessed in the modular system, but if they follow this with GCSE Additional Science from September 2013, this will be assessed terminally.
Once the proposed change comes into effect, if a student is awarded a GCSE in a particular subject, can that student retake the whole qualification?
Yes. Students will be able to retake whole qualifications.
Will the proposed change mean there are more examinations in the summer examination series?
No. All units are currently offered in the June series so there will be no additions to the summer examinations timetable.
Will students be allowed to sit all units and apply for certification in the January series (as well as June)?
No. The January series will no longer be used for GCSEs.
Will it still be possible for students to enter early for a GCSE providing they sit all the units for the qualification in the same examination series?
How will these changes affect controlled assessment?
The substance of controlled assessments will not change. Centres will still schedule the controlled assessments as appropriate, but the controlled assessment unit(s) will need to be entered at the same time as the student is sitting the GCSE.
If students sit modular exams in 2013 will there be a re-sit opportunity for them?
Students who sit their GCSEs in summer 2013 (and who may have entered for one or more units in previous series) and who subsequently wish to re-sit will need to re-take the qualification in a linear way. They will have to sit all the external assessments (examination papers) at the same sitting. However, they will be able to carry forward their result(s) from any controlled assessment unit(s).
Where can I find out more information about these changes?
Who can I contact for more information?
Oxford University Press
T: +44 (0) 1536 452620
F: +44 (0) 1865 313472
P: Oxford University Press
Educational Supply Section
North Kettering Business Park