2) Design of new GCSE Welsh Second Language

There isn’t a foundation level in the new qualification – it may therefore be too challenging for many learners.

Panel’s response

  • The move to untiered assessment does not mean that the new qualification will be less accessible.
  • The removal of tiering reflects the approach taken in the new GCSE Welsh language qualification, which is also not tiered.  It means that question papers can be designed so that each question is accessible to, and assesses, the full ability range of the cohort. 
  • Learners are also permitted to complete 25% of their assessment before the end of the course, which may help with manageability as well as with building learner confidence and motivation to improve. 

The content of new qualification is too difficult

The content of new qualification is too difficult in terms of:

  • the move to three broad themes to replace more than twenty topics in the old qualification;
  • It not being clear what teachers should be teaching;
  • the focus on language and grammar –  pupils may lose interest;
  • the translation and proofreading exercises.

Panel’s response

  • The new qualification removes the reliance on specific, narrowly defined vocabulary and topics that can constrain learning the language, and focuses more on developing learners’ every day Welsh skills that they need for the real world.
  • The three broad themes still include and build on the language introduced in Key Stage 3; much of the language and vocabulary that would have been covered previously under the specific topics prescribed in the legacy qualifications will also be relevant to the themes in the new qualification. 
  • The three broad themes also provide relevant, current contexts for teaching and learning.
  • The language itself hasn’t changed, the difference in the new qualification is the increased focus on language patterns and structures to enable pupils to communicate and interact spontaneously in Welsh. 
  • WJEC’s ‘Preparing to teach’ events in March support the introduction of the new qualification. These events allow teachers to discuss the content of the new qualification in depth.  WJEC is also providing a range of teaching resources and additional support on its website, including a booklet 'Guide to Teaching' and a guide to oral assessment featuring video clips of sample stimulus materials and of learners being assessed.  WJEC will also be holding a national conference for Welsh second language teachers on 30 June 2017.
  • Further details about the resources that are, and will be, available to support the teaching and learning of the qualification can be found on our website.