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GCSE MFL 2016 FAQs

Your guide to the new specifications

What are the changes?

Q: What are the main changes for GCSE Languages?

A: The government has made changes to make the UK education system more competitive internationally by raising learning standards across the whole range of subjects. The new GCSEs will also allow a clearer distinction between the ability levels of students at the top end of the spectrum.
new GCSE Languages, first taught from September 2016, will be first examined in 2018.
se see here for subject content and assessment objectives for modern foreign language GCSEs for teaching from 2016. Generally, the key changes recommended by the DFE are:

  • Initially for nine core GCSE subjects
  • Grading by numbers 9—1 rather then by the current letters A*-G (with 9 as the highest grade)
  • A move away from modular courses, with instead full exams taken at the end of two years
  • Pass marks will be pushed higher.
  • Specifically, the key changes to languages are:
  • Controlled assessments (coursework done under exam conditions) have been replaced by external assessment (oral exams will be internally conducted but externally assessed)
  • At least 10% of the marks available must be allocated to knowledge and application of grammar
  • The weighting for the four skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) are 25% each
  • Tiers can no longer be mixed: students have to be entered for all Foundation papers or all Higher papers
  • The introduction of a wider range of literary texts
  • The requirements to translate short texts from English into assessed language
  • A greater focus on the culture and identity of countries where the languages are spoken.
  • The focus is on introducing:
  • A stronger emphasis on culture and identity
  • Much more emphasis on independence and interaction in all skills
  • Stronger communication based on a deeper understanding of how language works (activating grammatical knowledge and understanding)
  • The opportunity to apply languages in personal, academic and employment-related contexts
  • A greater focus on spontaneous talk and the inclusion of repair strategies as a skill
  • Opportunities for bilingual learning
  • Translation but in a very dynamic meaning-focused way, developing 'translanguaging skills' for the global labour force.
  • Wider and richer sources for listening and reading, including literary texts to inform, inspire and as a stimulus for a personal response
  • New resources

    Q: Are there new resources available for the new GCSE?

    A: We have published resources for AQA GCSE French, German and Spanish and the Student Books and Kerboodle Books have been approved by AQA. You can see samples, sign up for a free trial of Kerboodle and order Evaluation Packs from our website.
    Tricolore 4 has been revised for all the new French GCSE specifications. As well as a revised Student Book, Teacher Guide and Examination Grammar in Action Workbooks, there is supporting assessment content for AQA, Edexcel, WJEC and Eduqas on the accompanying Kerboodle course. View it here.