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Ofqual - Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation

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GCSE Controlled Assessments

Summary/excerpt Controlled assessments were introduced with the first teaching of the revised GCSEs in September 2009. They take place under supervised conditions and are either set by awarding organisations and marked by teachers, or set by teachers and marked by awarding organisations. For example, a controlled assessment might involve allowing supervised access to the Internet.


Our report covering controlled assessments explains how they are developed. An independent report by Dr Ian Colwill — Improving GCSE: Internal and Controlled Assessment goes into greater detail. You can also view GCSE Controlled Assessment Regulations and download information about the changes to GCSEs and the introduction of controlled assessment.

Levels of controlled assessment

The level of controlled assessment varies between GCSEs.

0% In the following subjects there will be no controlled assessment: economics, law, religious studies, classical Greek, Latin, psychology and mathematics**.
25% Subjects with 25% controlled assessment include: business studies, classical civilisation, English literature*, geography, history, humanities, statistics, Welsh literature* and Welsh second language*.
60% Subjects with 60% controlled assessment include: applied business, art and design, citizenship studies, construction and the built environment, dance, design and technology, drama, engineering, English*, English Language*, expressive arts, health and social care, home economics, hospitality and catering, ICT*, leisure and tourism, manufacturing, media studies, modern foreign languages, music, physical education, Welsh* and Welsh second language (applied)*.

*For these subjects, new specifications with controlled assessment rules will come into effect with first teaching in September 2010.

** New specifications for mathematics come into effect with first teaching in 2010. Mathematics contains no controlled assessment.

Coursework for science will remain unchanged until September 2011, when new specifications will be introduced.

Controlled assessment regulations by subject area

Controlled assessment arrangements for independent/private candidates

If you are a private candidate, you should check awarding organisations' websites for further information about the qualification(s) you are interested in.

Before you start studying, if your GCSE involves controlled assessment you will need to find a centre at which to complete it. The type of controlled assessment you will need to sit and the length and number of sessions you will need to attend will vary according to the subject you are studying and the awarding organisation providing the qualification. Centres are usually schools or colleges and can be located via your local authority.

Another good place to find more information about how to choose an exam centre willing to accept private candidates is the website of the awarding organisation that offers the qualification(s) that you want to study. Some of these websites provide lists of suggested exam centres for private candidates to approach. Schools and colleges are often more likely to accept private candidates that are known to them, so your previous school or college is a good place to start — particularly if it isn’t long since you left. There are also commercial centres that accept private candidates. Many of these are private tutorial colleges.