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Criteria for qualifications

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The Welsh Government, as qualifications regulator in Wales, stipulates the criteria for awarding organisations to follow when developing specifications for GCSE and GCE (AS/A level) qualifications.

Specifications developed by awarding organisations have to meet these criteria in order to be accredited onto the National Qualifications Framework as being appropriate for delivering to learners.

GCSE and GCE subject criteria explain the general aims of studying a particular subject at that level and outline the essential knowledge skills and understanding that is required. They also stipulate the structure of the qualification and its assessment and grading. For some qualifications, specific subject criteria have been developed to ensure consistency between awarding organisations. The Criteria for GCSE qualifications, as well as some specific subject criteria, are available to download below.

In England, the Westminster Government has required Ofqual (qualifications regulator in England) to implement changes to the criteria for GCSEs for teaching from September 2012. These changes include making all assessment for GCSE qualifications to be taken at the end of the course, and the introduction of additional marks for Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar (SPaG) in some subjects.

In Wales, these changes will be considered as part of the Review of Qualifications, with a view to implementing any changes, informed by evidence, from September 2014 at the earliest. For now, awarding organisations may continue to offer assessment for GCSE modules throughout the course – and may offer resits for these modules, subject to the existing 40% terminal rule.  Not all awarding organisations will continue to offer this facility – centres should contact their awarding organisations to confirm the qualifications that are available to them.