Having been appointed Secretary of State for Education last week, one of Nicky Morgan’s first moves was to announce new proposals for the content of A Level geography. The Society welcomes these proposals, which are open for consultation until 19 September.
The proposals are based on recommendations made by a panel of geography experts, appointed by the A Level Content Advisory Board (ALCAB) in February 2014. The panel was chaired by Professor Martin Evans, Head of Geography at the University of Manchester, and included Dr Rita Gardner, the Society’s Director.
The Society believes:
- These proposals are a marked improvement on last year’s draft proposals.
- The proposals for ‘core content’ to account for 60% of all A Level specifications, across all awarding organisations, should ensure all students are introduced to a more sophisticated conceptual underpinning.
- The proposed core content is appropriately demanding, relevant and interesting. It shows good progression from GCSE and offers appropriate preparation for those going on to study geography at university.
- The proposals require a welcome balance between human and physical geography, as well as a good coverage of human-environment interactions
- The proposals give awarding organisations a good degree of flexibility in determining 40% of the specification through ‘non-core’ topics.
- The proposals are include fieldwork as a key requirement and this is particularly pleasing. The requirement for quantitative and qualitative data, including geo-spatial methods, collection and analysis is also welcome.
- The requirement for independent research through a fieldwork investigation, assessed by an internally marked and externally moderated independent study, should be supported strongly. This is provided through the Ofqual recommendation that 20 per cent of the marks (for A level) should be allocated to assessing fieldwork skills in a non-exam assessment.
In light of these proposals for revised A Level geography content, examinations inspectorate Ofqual has also launched a consultation on the assessment of A Level geography. The closing date for responses to this consultation is 22 September.