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Summary of changes

This guide outlines the main changes to GCSE Modern Foreign Languages qualifications in French, German and Spanish.

Our new specifications have been developed in line with the regulatory requirements provided by the Department for Education and Ofqual, and are designed to be accessible for students of all abilities. The content and skills of our new specifications build on what is studied at Key Stage 2/3, and provide better progression onto AS/A-level or into employment.

Changes to GCSE French, German and Spanish

What's new What's gone What's the same What's changed
  • The GCSE subject content for Modern foreign languages (set out by the Department for Education) specifies that language contexts must address relevant matters relating to the following themes: identity and culture; local, national, international and global areas of interest; and current and future study and employment.
  • The inclusion of questions set in the target language accounting for 20% of marks awarded for Listening, and 30% for Reading.
  • Translation from the target language into English at both tiers in the Reading paper, accounting for 15% of marks awarded for Reading.
  • Translation from English into the target language at both tiers in the Writing paper, accounting for 20% of marks awarded for Writing.
  • Controlled assessment.
  • Dictionaries may no longer be used when taking any assessment or during any period of formal preparation time prior to such an assessment.
  • The qualifications are linear.
  • The qualifications count towards the English Baccalaureate and Progress 8 performance measures.
  • The weighting of all four skills is now equal at 25% each.
  • Tiering has been retained but students must enter at one tier (Foundation or Higher) for all four skills, not a combination of both.
  • All assessments are set and marked by AQA (The Speaking test is still conducted by the teacher but will now be marked by an AQA examiner).
  • The grading system of letters from A* to G has been replaced by a numerical grading system spanning 1 to 9 (9 being the highest grade).
  • The inclusion of literary texts as some of the stimulus materials in the Reading paper (suitably adapted for students at GCSE level).
  • The requirement for students to manipulate and make more independent use of the target language.
  • Vocabulary lists must ensure that any assessment is not restricted to use of words and/or forms of words on the vocabulary list in such a way as to render the assessment predictable. Foundation tier assessments will require students to understand and respond to common or familiar words that are not on the vocabulary list. Higher tier assessments will require students to understand and respond to words that are not on the vocabulary list and which are less common or familiar than used in relation to Foundation tier assessments.

Specifications that use this resource: