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 the same
- 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
- 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
- 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- The grading system of letters from A* to G has been replaced by a numerical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
- 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.