Specifications that use this resource:

Summary of changes

This resource outlines the key changes to the structure and content of GCSE Design and Technology from our previous suite of specifications to our new single specification (8552).

Changes to GCSE Design and Technology

Specification content

What’s new What’s gone What’s the same What’s changed

There are no longer separate specifications for different elements of design and technology.

Specialist knowledge is still a key element of the specification. We recommend delivering the specification through practical activities wherever possible, as is currently the case.

The content is now split into three areas:

  • Section A: Core technical principles
  • Section B: Specialist technical principles
  • Section C: Designing and making principles.

All students must cover all of the content of Section A.

The content for Sections B and C can be delivered either through single or multiple materials categories or systems.

Non-exam assessment

What’s new What’s gone What’s the same What’s changed
Controlled Assessment has been replaced, along with the specific regulations with regard to High Control.

There will still be marks for designing and making, and students’ work will be submitted for moderation in May of each academic year.

Students can present their NEA through one material category (eg a ‘textiles’ piece) should this be an appropriate solution to the set context. They can also produce a portfolio and prototype which covers more than one material category or system, allowing full flexibility of design.

You will still have an adviser to offer advice and guidance on the internally assessed unit.

Materials can be submitted by paper or electronically-based methods.

NEA is worth 50% of the overall grade and must relate to the contexts we provide on 1 June the academic year before students submit work.

NEA should take approximately 30–35 hours and is not material area restricted. Students produce a prototype.

There will no longer be visiting moderation.

Marking criteria are different.

Maths and science skills

What’s new What’s gone What’s the same What’s changed
Controlled Assessment has been replaced, along with the specific regulations with regard to High Control.

There will still be marks for designing and making, and students’ work will be submitted for moderation in May of each academic year.

Students can present their NEA through one material category (eg a ‘textiles’ piece) should this be an appropriate solution to the set context. They can also produce a portfolio and prototype which covers more than one material category or system, allowing full flexibility of design.

You will still have an adviser to offer advice and guidance on the internally assessed unit.

Materials can be submitted by paper or electronically-based methods.

NEA is worth 50% of the overall grade and must relate to the contexts we provide on 1 June the academic year before students submit work.

NEA should take approximately 30–35 hours and is not material area restricted. Students produce a prototype.

There will no longer be visiting moderation.

Marking criteria are different.

The exam

What’s new What’s gone What’s the same What’s changed
A specific section of multiple choice questions has been included in the exam for the first time. There is no pre-release for the new exam and no ‘design’ question in which students sketch, annotate and describe their own design of a product. The exam covers the content of the specification. It’s possible to answer some of the questions from a specific materials category or system route (allowing schools and colleges flexibility in delivery).

The exam is split into three sections which correspond to the three sections of content in the specification.

The first is multiple choice and short answer, the second and third include a mixture of short and extended response questions, including responding to a design issue.

The ‘design issue’ question involves students considering an actual product (see specimen paper section c, for an example of this).

The exam is now worth 50% of the final GCSE.

Grading

What’s new What’s gone What’s the same What’s changed
9–1 A*–G Students across the full ability range will achieve a GCSE in design and technology.

The specification will be graded from 9–1.

For guidance on grade boundaries, please see our 9-1 grading guidance