Most students know that GCSE English is split into two separate qualifications. These qualifications are called GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature, presented as two separate grades. However, many students may not realise that there is another aspect to GCSE English within the GCSE English Language qualification. This is the GCSE English speaking assessment, which is not assessed using written exams. It is not a qualification which is broadly spoken about. Thus, many students may not regard this qualification as important.
The government introduced the new GCSE English speaking assessment in 2015, where it would be used after 2016. When this occurred, they explained how this was an important part of the GCSE English qualification. As a result, it became a mandatory exam, which all students had to do.
If you want to discover more about if the GCSE English speaking assessment really is important or not, check out the rest of this article!
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How important is the GCSE English speaking assessment?
The GCSE English speaking assessment is mostly seen to be of high importance in schools and by the government. This is because it is used to assess a student’s language and presentation skills.
It is used to assess how students conduct themselves in a formal environment, as they present a topic they have thoroughly researched. This will then produce a grade, which can be used to show universities and potential employers, how skilled each student is regarding their language and presentation skills.
However, this assessment is not only important in producing a grade. It also allows students to practice presenting their ideas. This potentially could prepare them for the world of work, where they may also have to do this.
Being skilled at articulating your thoughts and ideas is a valuable trait to have in any context! Therefore, this qualification is also important because it allows students to practice these important skills.
You can discover more about the formation of this assessment from this document by the government. However, many employers tend to employ individuals based on a range of factors.
Consequently, your GCSE English speaking assessment grade probably won’t determine whether you get offered a job or not.
Is the GCSE English speaking assessment important to a student?
Personally, I believe that this assessment is important. Not just because it shows employers your language and presentation skills but also because it gives students a key experience.
Presenting in front of others can be a difficult task, especially for students who may be shy or have anxiety. It can help them get over this fear and prepare them for a job where giving presentations may be a requirement.
Therefore, I would recommend really trying your best for this assessment. Even though it may not be seen as important as your written assessment grades for GCSE English, this assessment is still a fantastic opportunity.
You will be able to show employers your skills and gain some practice at the same time!
How much is the GCSE English speaking assessment worth of your final GCSE?
There is a common misconception about this non-exam assessment. Many students believe that the grade you get from this assessment contributes to your whole GCSE English Language grade. However, this is not the case.
The grade you achieve from this assessment doesn’t contribute anything to your grades from your GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature papers. Instead, it is a separate qualification.
After 2014, Ofqual decided to present the grade produced from each student’s GCSE English spoken assessment as a separate grade to their written exams. This means that whatever grade you get in your spoken assessment will not affect the marks from your written papers.
As a result, when you receive your GCSE certificates, this grade will be depicted as a separate qualification. If you want to learn more about the changes made to the GCSE English speaking assessment in 2014, check out this document by Ofqual, from the government website.
What does the GCSE English speaking exam involve?
The GCSE English speaking assessment is not scary- despite its long name! All it requires is students to give a presentation in a formal context, in front of their teachers and potentially their peers.
Your presentation can be about anything at all! However, you need to make sure that your teacher is happy with your choice.
The presentation can also take on different forms, such as a speech, debate or monologue. It needs to last at least ten minutes according to the AQA website. There is no need to worry about this presentation though!
When you are presenting, you can use resources to assist you. For example, PowerPoints and notes such as flash cards can be great tools.
After your presentation, you will also be asked a range of questions, which you have to respond to well, using correct English. Therefore, you need to make sure that you know your topic well, so can easily answer any questions about it.
What happens if you fail the GCSE English speaking assessment?
As of 2023, your GCSE English speaking assessment is marked as a distinction, merit, pass or fail. Distinction is the best and only students who achieve all assessment objectives in the top bands will achieve this grade.
If you fail, this grade will be referred to as ‘Not Classified’. You can find out more information about the grading system on this page from the government website.
You cannot retake this assessment, so it is important that you prepare as much as you can before presenting it. However, failing the GCSE English speaking assessment will not affect your overall GCSE English grade.
It is not compulsory to pass this assessment. In comparison the GCSE English Language written qualification is. You will have to retake this exam if you fail.
Check out this article from Think Student if you want to find out more about what happens if you fail your GCSEs.
How do you prepare for the GCSE English speaking assessment?
Nobody truly wants to fail anything! Therefore, the best thing to do to pass your GCSE English speaking assessment is to prepare as much as you can.
If you think that you will forget what you want to say during your presentation, just make flash cards! You won’t get marked down for using them.
This is as long as you don’t keep your head down the whole time whilst presenting. Remember- eye contact is important. If you are struggling in knowing how to actually start your presentation, check out this article from Think Student.
You need to make sure that you have thoroughly researched the topic that you are going to discuss. Teachers are especially skilled at thinking of awkward questions.
Therefore, you need to prepare yourselves for these by learning all of your topic inside and out. This can be difficult if you are not motivated.
If this is the case, try and find a topic which genuinely interests you. You don’t want to have to be researching a topic which bores you so much, you are not even motivated to prepare. If you are struggling for ideas, check out this article from Think Student.
Hopefully, you now have a good idea about the importance of the GCSE English speaking assessment. Now go and do your research! Try and find the best topic for you.