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Cambridge Pre-U Geography: The Way Forward?

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Presentation on theme: "Cambridge Pre-U Geography: The Way Forward?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Cambridge Pre-U Geography: The Way Forward?
Peter Price & Claire Sladden Geographical Association Annual Conference and Exhibition University of Surrey, 16 April 2011 Cambridge Pre-U aims to equip students with the skills required to make a success of their subsequent studies at university, involving not only a solid grounding in geography at the appropriate level, but also the ability to undertake independent and self-directed learning and to think laterally, critically and creatively about the world.

2 Introducing Peter Price
HOD Charterhouse Teaching Pre-U CGeog Member GA ISSIG and Post-16/HE Committees Delivery Notes Peter Price introduces himself.

3 The Charterhouse Curriculum
Pre-16 and post-16 almost entirely linear Ethos aiming to maximise learning time and minimise examination disruption Geography Department traditionally offered OCR GCE and OCR C GCSE Pre-16: majority of subjects offer IGCSE Post-16: majority offer Pre-U (only 3 offer A Level) From September 2011, Charterhouse will also offer IB Peter Price introduces how Pre-U fits into the curriculum in his school.

4 Introducing Claire Sladden
Geographer and assessment specialist CGeog, FRGS, FCIEA Chief Examiner, Pre-U Principal Examiner, Pre-U Paper 3 Global Themes The Avenue, Trinity College, Cambridge, in spring Delivery Notes CJS introduces herself, explains the post-nominals and links CIE to the University of Cambridge.

5 Aims for this Lecture Plus:
introduce the Pre-U syllabus offer some reflections from the points of view of a teacher and an assessor provide the opportunity to ask questions and discuss classroom implications Delivery Notes Three aims in the time we have together.

6 Introduction The Cambridge Pre-U Certificate in GEOGRAPHY is assessed through 4 compulsory components. The assessments all take place at the end of the two-year course and a single grade is awarded.

7 A flexible qualification
Cambridge Pre-U Certificate 27 subject syllabuses and core Cambridge Pre-U Diploma Builds on subject strength Freedom of subject choice Core components Global Perspectives Portfolio Individual Research Report The qualification is flexible in that, unlike the IB, there is free choice of what a student can study in the diploma, i.e. they can take any subject they wish. Also it can run in a mixed economy along side other A levels. Also the core – Global Perspectives and the Independent Research Report are now being offered as a stand alone qualification that can replace courses like general studies, critical thinking and the extended project.

8 Syllabus characteristics
Linearity Avoids fragmentation Reclaims teaching time No component retakes Authentic ‘stretch and challenge’ Informed syllabus development Genuine synopticity Greater discrimination at the top end (addition of D1) Linearity avoids fragmentation in both how the subject is delivered and also how the subject is assessed. Subject can be taught in a joined up coherent way. Also the topic within the assessment and forms of assessment can be interlinked . Reclaims teaching time Modular courses have a lot of time spent on end of unit assessment and also revision The summer term of Year 12, in particular, presents a more exciting prospect, giving greater space for exploration and innovation at a critical time in a student’s intellectual development No unit re-takes There is a retake culture that currently exists with the modular A level. Universities do not like this because it is not always clear how a candidate has arrived at their final grade Authentic ‘stretch and challenge’ Not just an additional grade at the top of the grade range re A* Informs syllabus development Stretch and challenge has been built into the whole of the syllabus developing, i.e. developing content that goes into topics in depth, more content, assessment that are open ended in some cases using unfamiliar contexts. Genuine synopticity Modular qualifications have a synoptic assessment unit which shows that candidates can link concepts across the qualification send had indeed a grasp on all The of content of all of the units. A linear qualification does not have to artificially impose this form of unit assessment, links and overall coverage are built throughout the qualification. Greater discrimination at the top end What used to be the old A grade at A level in the Pre-U has a finer discrimination in that it now includes three Distinctions, known as D1, D2 ,D3. Allowing the 25% of students now achieving this grade to be further categorised into finer grade bands.

9 Cambridge Pre-U Diploma
Opportunities for greater depth Independent Research Report Principal Subject Principal Subject Principal Subject Completely free choice of subjects The slide is animated. The principal subjects appear first. The requirement within the diploma is a minimum of 1 principal subject alongside two other level three qualifications such as A Levels. Guided Learning Hours Each Principal Level subject may be expected to require at least 380 Guided Learning Hours. This exceeds the current ‘volume’ of an A Level programme (360 hours) and reflects the fact that as a linear qualification, without module examinations, more time should be available for teaching and learning. It follows that a school may develop a curricular structure that allows Cambridge Pre-U to be taught without radical changes to the nature of the sixth form curriculum. Indeed, in the early years it is likely that schools will adopt Cambridge Pre-U in a number of subjects, alongside A Level courses in other subjects. To achieve the diploma a candidate must also pass the core elements of Global Perspectives and the Independent Research Report. Global Perspectives is a taught course and developed through global topics such as the environment , the economy, etc. This has been designed to fulfil the requirements set out by universities in that they require students who have broad perspectives and can think laterally and critically. The Independent Research Report is like a mini dissertation and again develops those skills required at university for research, analyse, evaluation, etc. as well as the ability to write in an extended way developing a coherent argument. Finally the short courses, Principal subjects and the Core are all offered individually as stand alone certificated subjects outside of the diploma structure. The short courses are only offered in modern foreign languages and are as such designed to be curricular extension. similar to an additional AS. Guarantees breadth Global Perspectives Optional Short Course, Additional Principal Subjects Global Perspectives and Research Stand alone learning pathways

10 Reporting of Achievement at subject level
Achievement is reported on a scale of nine grades: D1 (Distinction 1), D2, D3, M1 (Merit 1), M2, M3, P1 (Pass 1), P2, P3. The grade D1 reports achievement above the new A* grade. The intention is to differentiate more finely and extend reporting at the top end, while keeping the grading scale accessible to the full range of ability currently achieving passes at A Level. In addition to what is shown, A Level Grade C approximates to the M3/P1 threshold.

11 Supporting progression to university
Delivery Notes Use in conjunction with UCAS Tariff slide

12 Principal Subject Tariff
UCAS Tariff Cambridge Pre-U Band Grade Principal Subject Tariff A Level Equivalent Tariff GPR Short Course Distinction D1 tbc n/a D2 145 (A*) 140 D3 130 A 120 126 60 Merit M1 115 112 53 M2 101 98 46 M3 87 84 39 Pass P1 73 70 32 P2 59 56 26 P3 E 40 42 20

13 Principles underlying the Geography syllabus
That the core concern of the subject is the interaction of people with the environment The importance of maintaining a clear and strong physical geography component Flexibility, opening up choices for teachers, to reflect the interests and resources of Geography departments The introduction of some new topics and of new angles on others More opportunities for extended writing (essays) The need to develop enquiry skills The basic principles which underlie the syllabus. Provided by Dr Steve Hoyle, lead member of the development team. 13

14 Assessment Objectives
AO1 show knowledge and understanding of the places, concepts, processes and principles of the syllabus content AO2 select and use appropriate skills and techniques (including the use of fieldwork and information technology) to investigate questions and issues and communicate findings AO3 analyse and evaluate geographical information, issues and viewpoints; apply understanding in unfamiliar contexts; draw conclusions from evidence presented There are three assessment objectives, AOs. AO1 is basically concerned with knowledge and understanding: this includes relevant geographical theories and concepts, geographical processes and exemplar and case study material. AO2 is concerned with geographical skills; interpretation of resources and investigation. Written communication and research skills are included under AO2. AO3 is essentially concerned with analysis and evaluation. The application of AO1 material in a manner relevant to the question posed is fundamental to fulfilling AO3. The weighting of the AOs varies significantly between the four papers, see syllabus page 8. 14

15 Syllabus content: 1 Geographical Issues
Section A (choose 2) Tectonic Hazards Hazardous Weather Hydrological Hazards Section B (choose 2) The Geography of Crime Health and Disease Spatial Inequality and Poverty Section C (synoptic; minimal teaching) Multiple hazards and issues Paper 1 focuses on issues that pose a threat to people. The issues are divided into two groups and therefore two Sections: - one largely physical in origin - one largely human in origin Studied through examining: - causes (both environmental and human) - impacts - management Candidates study two options from each section and should study an area vulnerable to more than one of these hazards in order to answer Section C. The, essentially physical issues should be relatively familiar, but some of human origin may be somewhat novel. 15

16 Syllabus content: 2 Global Environments
Section A (choose 1) Arid and Semi-Arid Environments Glacial and Periglacial Environments Coastal Environments Section B (choose 1) Tropical Environments Temperate Grassland and Forest Environments The Atmospheric Environment Global Environments focuses on physical environments, which are studied through looking at: - Physical processes operating in the environment - Human use of and impact on the environment - The sustainable management of the environment Three of the options are traditional geomorphological environments and are grouped in Section A. Two are based upon global biomes and the last covers the atmosphere and these are grouped in Section B. Candidates will need to study at least one option from each section, but would benefit from studying at least one further option. This would enhance their geography and increase their choice of questions when it comes to the examination. 16

17 Syllabus content: 3 Global Themes
Section A (choose 1) Migration and Urban Change Trade, Debt and Aid The World of Work Section B (choose 1) Energy and Mineral Resources The Provision of Food Tourism Spaces Global Themes focuses on different aspects of human activity, which are studied through examining: - Issues at different scales - Relationships between the human and physical environments - Reasons for the development of associated issues - Sustainable management As with Global Environments, candidates study one option from each section, but would benefit from studying at least one further option, as geographers, and to give greater choice of question in the examination. 17

18 Paper 4 Research Topic One of three prescribed topics each year for a research investigation involving fieldwork. For examination in 2011 the topics are: Microclimates Environmental Degradation Deprivation Topics for 2012–15 have been published. Paper 4 Its content is about investigative process and therefore applies every year to all topics. Syllabus pages 12 and topics, cycled. It is possible for all candidates in a school to choose the same research topic, or for different groups, sets or classes to choose different topics. Syllabus pages 14 and 15 gives what is called Research guidance of two sorts: Possible ideas for research investigation Themes for wider study

19 Programme of study from Charterhouse
Sequence Physical Human 1 Coastal Environments Spatial Inequality and Poverty 2 The Atmospheric Environment Health and Disease Year 12 end of year examinations 3 Climatic Hazards Trade, Debt and Aid Year 13 Mocks 4 Hydrological Hazards The Provision of Food - Paper 4 fieldwork and research throughout 2 & 3 (Microclimates) 5 Revision (extended)

20 Pre-U: Support CIE Support
Essential materials online (syllabus, specimen papers and Teacher Guide) Past examination material, including interim papers Small, so personal contacts with CIE (excellent access to Chief Examiner and Product Manager; example of examination dates) and other departments teaching Pre-U Through the Online Community, administered by one of the PEs No “tied” textbooks – blessing or curse? In preparation for first teaching of Cambridge Pre-U in 2008, some publishers revised their A Level texts with a view to catering for the Cambridge Pre-U syllabus content. However, they do not meet meet the enhanced needs of this Cambridge Pre-U syllabus in its entirety. The nature of the qualification encourages freedom for teachers and independent learning by students Resources for extension and enhancement are published on the Cambridge Pre-U website.

21 A teacher’s reflections on Pre-U: The Way Forward?
In-built linearity is liberating Academic liberation of open-ended content v more prescribed GCE content Challenging contemporary content (for teachers and pupils) I have read more in 8 months’ preparation for Pre-U than in the past 14 years of A Level teaching Bridging the gap to HE? Evolving – get involved in shaping the qualification BUT Linearity in a modular curriculum Resourcing? International board on a learning curve about servicing increased centres in their home country Recognition (UCAS and beyond?); case of IB

22 Examiner feedback from first examination in May/June 2010
Small cohort Established practices and procedures Benchmarked against OCR 2009 Experience of awarding D1 Archived standards

23 Further questions? Read Peter’s article in ISSIG “Notes & Queries” and Post-16/HE Committee newsletter Go to making sure that you indicate Pre-U Geography Product Manager, Pre-U Geography, CIE Tim Kendrick-Jones


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