Changes for 2021

Following Ofqual’s announcement about changes to assessment in summer 2021, here's what you need to know for GCSE Design and Technology.

Please note: these changes only apply to assessments being completed this academic year.

Changes to NEA

There are changes to parts of the NEA for GCSE Design and Technology. The Realising design ideas and Analysing and evaluating sections have been rewritten to reflect these changes.

Realising design ideas

  • This section has been reduced from 20 to 10 marks
  • Students will no longer be assessed on the skill of making but will be required to show their ‘intentions of prototypes’ and demonstrate their understanding of the processes involved in making
  • The assessment no longer requires students to make a final prototype - instead, they can show their understanding of the processes involved in making by writing about them. Documenting these processes is one way of gaining marks in the 2021 Realising design ideas section. However, making skills are important for progression to future study, and for students' understanding, so we’d encourage you to continue to allow students to make wherever possible. This is another way of demonstrating the knowledge tested in the 2021 Realising design ideas section.

Analysing and evaluation

  • This section has been reduced from 20 to 15 marks
  • Analysis and evaluation throughout the design process can take place in relation to prototype ideas and models
  • There’s no expectation to test a final made prototype but students should find ways of testing prototype designs.

No other changes

All sections of the NEA up to and including Developing design ideas will remain the same for 2021.

There are no planned changes to the exam. The same specification content should be covered as always. The exam questions and associated mark schemes will look the same as in previous years of this specification.

Help and support

We have created a guidance document that gives you the new assessment criteria for GCSE Design and Technology. This can be found on the Secure Key Materials section of our secure website e-AQA.

Please contact your NEA adviser for further support on conducting the NEA.

If you don’t know who your NEA adviser is, your exams officer will have these details, or you can contact us.