Scheme of assessment

Find past papers and mark schemes, and specimen papers for new courses, on our website at aqa.org.uk/pastpapers

This specification is designed to be taken over two years.

This is a linear qualification. In order to achieve the award, students must complete all assessments at the end of the course and in the same series.

GCSE exams and certification for this specification are available for the first time in May/June 2018 and then every May/June for the life of the specification.

All materials are available in English only.

Our GCSE exams in Religious Studies: Short course include questions that allow students to demonstrate their ability to:

  • apply knowledge and understanding of two religions
  • apply knowledge and understanding of key sources of wisdom and authority including scripture and/or sacred texts, where appropriate, which support contemporary religious faith
  • understand the influence of religion on individuals, communities and societies
  • understand significant common and divergent views between and/or within religions and beliefs
  • apply knowledge and understanding in order to analyse questions related to religious beliefs and values
  • construct well-informed and balanced arguments on matters concerned with religious beliefs and values set out in the subject content.

Aims and learning outcomes

Courses based on this specification should encourage students to:

  • develop their knowledge and understanding of religions and non-religious beliefs
  • develop their knowledge and understanding of religious beliefs, teachings, and sources of wisdom and authority, including through their reading of key religious texts, other texts, and scriptures of the religions they are studying
  • construct well-argued, well-informed, balanced and structured written arguments, demonstrating their depth and breadth of understanding of the subject
  • engage with questions of belief, value, meaning, purpose, truth, and their influence on human life
  • reflect on and develop their own values, beliefs and attitudes in the light of what they have learnt and contribute to their preparation for adult life in a pluralistic society and global community.

Assessment objectives

Assessment objectives (AOs) are set by Ofqual and are the same across all GCSE Religious Studies: Short course specifications and all exam boards.

The exams will measure how students have achieved the following assessment objectives.

  • AO1: Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of religion and belief, including:
    • beliefs, practices and sources of authority
    • influence on individuals, communities and societies
    • similarities and differences within and/or between religions and beliefs.
  • AO2: Analyse and evaluate aspects of religion and belief, including their significance and influence.

Assessment objective weightings for GCSE Religious Studies: Short course

Assessment objectives (AOs) Component weightings (approx %) Overall weighting (approx %)
Paper 1
AO1 50 50
AO2 50 50
Overall weighting of components 100 100

Assessment weightings

Updated

The marks awarded on the papers will be scaled to meet the weighting of the components. Students’ final marks will be calculated by adding together the scaled marks for each component. Grade boundaries will be set using this total scaled mark. The scaling and total scaled marks are shown in the table below.

Component Maximum raw mark Scaling factor Maximum scaled mark
Section A – one option from 8061/1 to 8061/4 27 1 27
Section B – one option from 8061/1 to 8061/4 27 1 27
Section C – 8061/5 48 1 48
Total scaled mark: 102

Assessment structure

Section A: Study of religions

For each exam
  • students must answer questions on two specified religions
  • one compulsory five-part question will be set on each religion
  • the structure of the question will be identical across all religions
  • each five-part question is worth 24 marks, with 12 marks for AO1 and 12 marks for AO2
  • marks will be allocated as follows: 1, 2, 4, 5 and 12
  • in each five-part question, AO1 is tested in the first four questions
  • AO2 is assessed through the 12 mark extended writing question
  • up to 3 marks are awarded for spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPaG) based on performance in the 12 mark extended writing questions.

Section B: Themes

For each exam
  • students must answer questions on two compulsory themes
  • one compulsory five-part question will be set per theme
  • each five-part question is worth 24 marks, with 12 marks for AO1 and 12 marks for AO2
  • marks will be allocated as follows: 1, 2, 4, 5 and 12
  • in each five-part question, AO1 is tested in the first four questions
  • AO2 is assessed through the 12 mark extended writing question.

Spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPaG)

Updated

Spelling, punctuation and grammar will be assessed in 12 mark questions against the following criteria:

Level

Performance descriptor

Marks awarded
High performance
  • Learners spell and punctuate with consistent accuracy
  • Learners use rules of grammar with effective control of meaning overall
  • Learners use a wide range of specialist terms as appropriate

3

Intermediate performance
  • Learners spell and punctuate with considerable accuracy
  • Learners use rules of grammar with general control of meaning overall
  • Learners use a good range of specialist terms as appropriate

2

Threshold performance
  • Learners spell and punctuate with reasonable accuracy
  • Learners use rules of grammar with some control of meaning and any errors do not significantly hinder meaning overall
  • Learners use a limited range of specialist terms as appropriate

1

No marks awarded
  • The learner writes nothing
  • The learner’s response does not relate to the question
  • The learner’s achievement in SPaG does not reach the threshold performance level, for example errors in spelling, punctuation and grammar severely hinder meaning
0