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  • New Economics A level to help students understand lessons of global financial crisis

    From September, A level Economics students will be required to learn about the global financial crisis for the first time.

    They will learn about:

    • factors that contributed to the crisis (including moral hazard, speculation and market bubbles)
    • the role of banking regulation 
    • monetary and fiscal policy instruments, including quantitative easing
    • policy responses to the crisis, comparing and contrasting these with policy responses to the Great Depression of 1929.

    Students of Pearson'€™s Edexcel syllabus will also study the use of 'national wellbeing' and '€˜national happiness' as measures of economic growth for the first time. They will compare and contrast these measures of economic performance with more traditional methods, exploring the limitations of both in comparing living standards between countries and over time.

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  • Our new draft specification for Edexcel GCSE History

    On 7 April 2015, we published our new, draft specification for Edexcel History GCSE, to be taught in schools from September 2016.

    Pearson will be offering a single, unified specification, designed to offer maximum topic choice and flexibility for teachers across three exam papers.

    The new course will include topics that teachers will know and recognise to choose from, such as ‘Russia and the Soviet Union (1917-41)’, ‘Weimar and Nazi Germany (1918-39) and ‘The American West, c1835-c1895’, as well as new topics, including:

    • Spain and the ‘New World’ (1490-1555)
    • British America: Empire and Revolution (1713-83)
    • Conflict in the Middle East (1945-95)
    • The reigns of King Richard I and King John (1189-1216).

    The new requirement for a study of the ‘historic environment’ has been embedded within the thematic studies paper, so teachers can choose from:

    • Victorian London’s East End, under ‘Whitechapel: crime and policing (1870-1900)’ in the Crime and Punishment through time thematic study
    • Conditions in which the British wounded were cared for on the Western Front, under ‘The British sector of the Western Front: surgery and treatment (1914-18)’ in the Medicine through time thematic study
    • Life in London during the Blitz, under ‘London and the Second World War (1939-45)’ in the Warfare through time thematic study.
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  • BTEC results 2014

    Statistics show large increases in students studying vocational qualifications in subjects most critical for UK economy.

    Today, Pearson publishes entry and achievement data for students completing level 2 (First) and level 3 (National) BTEC qualifications between 1 September 2013 and 31 August 2014.

    The statistics show that students are choosing to study subjects identified as the most important for economic growth, revealing a 17% rise in level 3 (sixth form) students taking STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) focused BTECs, with an increase of students at level 3 of 27% taking Applied Science, 12% taking ICT and 17% taking Engineering. A recent report by the CBI outlined how a healthy supply of STEM-skilled employees at all levels is required for a flourishing UK economy and rising living standards[1].

    Bucking the trend that sees sciences as traditionally 'male' subjects, there was a big increase of 27% in girls taking this subject. As a result, more girls (54%) than boys (46%) gained Applied Science level 3 BTECs this year.

    ICT and Engineering remain male-dominated subjects. 83% of students taking ICT at level 3 are male and so are 95% of those taking Engineering at level 3. Nevertheless, the percentage of female students taking these subjects has increased since last year by 11% for ICT and 53% for Engineering.

    The girls that do take these subjects also out-perform their male peers:

    • 25% of girls who took an Applied Science level 3 BTEC got the highest grade of a D*, compared to 14% of boys
    • 25% of girls who took an Engineering level 3 BTEC got the highest grade of a D*, compared to 14% of boys 
    • 36% of girls who took an ICT Level 3 BTEC got the highest grade of a D*, compared to 21% of boys.
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  • Our new draft specifications for Edexcel A level and AS level Biology, Chemistry and Physics

    We'€™ve published the new, draft specifications for Edexcel A level and AS level Biology, Chemistry and Physics online, for teaching from September 2015.

    These have been developed following careful consultation with teachers, higher education and subject experts and as part of Pearson's World Class Qualifications programme, benchmarking the qualifications with those of the highest-performing jurisdictions in the world.

    They have been developed according to the subject criteria that the Department for Education published last year and were submitted to Ofqual on Thursday 26 June for accreditation.

    Key changes to all A level Sciences qualifications include:

    • Science AS levels will be a stand-alone linear qualification - results for AS examinations won't form a part of the A level grade but AS level can be taught alongside the A level.
    • A levels will be linear courses with all the examinations taken at the end of the course.
    • Coursework units are being replaced with new ways to assess practical skills - a written assessment and teacher-assessed measure of practical competency that runs throughout the course.

    Key changes to Biology:

    • Pearson has submitted two specifications for accreditation, with one following a route based on contextualised case studies.
    • Both specifications respond to the needs of HE and teachers, and include a range of required practical activities.
    • Questions involving the use of mathematical skills in Biology will contribute to 10% of the assessment total.

    Key changes to Chemistry:

    • Content of the specification revised to meet the needs of students progressing to a range of undergraduate courses.
    • Focus on chemical principles within the specification, as well as encouraging the development of practical skills.
    • Questions involving the use of mathematical skills in Chemistry will contribute to 20% of the assessment total.

    Key changes to Physics:

    • Pearson’s proposed A level encourages the use of context and case studies to improve recruitment into physics.
    • The specification covers the core content, as well as covering areas of key interest, such as astrophysics and particle physics.
    • Questions involving the use of mathematical skills in Physics will contribute 40% of the assessment total.
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  • Our new draft specifications for Edexcel A level and AS level English

    We’ve published the new, draft specifications for Edexcel A level and AS level English qualifications online, to be taught in schools from September 2015.

    These have been developed following careful consultation with teachers, higher education and subject experts and as part of Pearson’s World Class Qualification programme, benchmarking the qualifications with those of the highest-performing jurisdictions in the world.

    They have been put together according to the criteria that the Department for Education published last year and were submitted to Ofqual on Thursday 19 June for accreditation.

    As with other subjects, AS levels will be a standalone linear qualification, which won't count towards the A level grade but can be taught alongside the A level. A levels will be two-year linear courses with all the examinations taken in the summer of Year 13.

    Key features of AS and A level English from 2015 will include:

    • The percentage of coursework for A level has been set at 20% but there will be no coursework at all at AS.
    • The introduction of compulsory unseen analysis and a reduction in the number of set texts (down from 12 to eight) in A level English Literature to facilitate in-depth study.
    • A reduction in the number of set texts (from six to four) in AS Literature.
    • Amendments to the subject content for A level English Language, to include the
      study of historical, geographical, social and individual varieties of English, as well as aspects of language and identity.
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