5 July 2019

ISEB Common Entrance at 13+ Consultation

After an extensive consultation process, the ISEB Board has now set out the broad parameters for the development of new specifications and assessments for 13+ CE. These specifications will be based on rigorous assessment, respect for subjects in terms both of knowledge and its application and which aim to develop understanding and skills. In particular, this will extend the scope for the application of knowledge and discourage the regurgitation of rote-learned material. This will allow for more in-depth analysis of a smaller body of knowledge than is currently assessed. The specifications and assessments will allow prep schools to continue to follow their own curricula and schemes of work and afford them the opportunity to recognise what pupils have achieved in Years 7 and 8. They will allow senior schools to identify what the pupils coming to them know, understand and can do. The specifications will continue, where appropriate, to be based on the requirements of the National Curriculum and serve as a foundation for study at GCSE. ISEB will identify the key overarching learner attributes which will characterise those who have followed the new specifications and assessments, and the aims for each subject will be based on these. Pupils who follow these specifications will develop a growing understanding of their role in the world, a love of learning and reading and an ability to analyse material and express their views orally and in writing.

ISEB will continue to offer terminal assessments in all subjects, some with papers at different levels, as at present. Individual subject areas will also be given the freedom to develop complementary forms of assessment, for example fieldwork, practical investigations, in-school assessments or modular tests. Assessments will, as far as possible, be appropriate for pupils taking them overseas as well as in the UK.

In addition to working upon the new assessment framework, ISEB plans to investigate the development of an age-appropriate extended project qualification which schools could use, if they wished, alongside the suite of examinations, instead of some, or as a stand-alone element. This would allow for the development of research skills and the delivery of a presentation which may be related to any of the subjects which are assessed or to other parts of the curriculum, e.g. the creative and performing arts.

Work will now begin on giving substance to these broad outlines and we shall keep people informed about developments.