Barcelona Field Studies Centre

Edexcel Geography GCSE Syllabus A Coursework Guidance: Designing and Planning the Coursework


It is a requirement of the GCSE Subject Criteria for Geography that all candidates should undertake geographical investigations supported by fieldwork. This will involve a process of enquiry that demonstrates their understanding and skills within a geographical context. Unlike the written papers, there are no entry tiers for coursework. All candidates will be assessed against the same criteria and will have an equal opportunity to show what they can do.

Candidates are required to use ICT at various stages of their investigation. See the section Incoorporating ICT in coursework below.


Designing and planning the coursework

Candidates are required to submit one item of coursework. It must take the form of an investigation which will involve candidates in the following stages of a geographical enquiry:


1 the planning of the topic for study can be developed from observation, discussion, reading or previous study, and should be approached in terms of a question or problem to be investigated, a hypothesis to be tested, or a combination of these

2 the defining of the aims of the enquiry; the more specific the aims, the more likely is the candidate’s attention to be directed to the purpose of the enquiry and specific problems or questions arising from it

3 the planning and decision making about what data is relevant to the study and how this data can best be obtained; the general format and development of the study should also be agreed at this stage

4 the candidate should be able to demonstrate the skills of data refining and presentation by presenting the material in a variety of forms appropriate to the nature of the particular study, eg maps, diagrams and charts, sketches and annotated photographs

5 interpretation and analysis, where the candidate should consider the significance of the collected data, leading to a formulation of conclusions relating to the original aims of the study.

• Candidates should avoid submitting coursework that is either extremely brief or of great length. It is recommended that approximately 2000 words should be the maximum length.


Incorporating ICT in coursework

There are three important considerations relating to the use of ICT in producing coursework:

• it must be used appropriately

• its use must enhance the investigation

• it should be properly integrated into the finished study (‘built in’, not ‘bolt on’).

Candidates’ use of ICT is assessed in three of the five coursework assessment criteria.

• It is assessed as part of Data collection. Candidates should use ICT in some form as part of the overall data collection process. This could be research supporting secondary data, collecting primary data, or collating the data collected. Appropriate uses of ICT could include:

- researching related geographical theory from the Internet or CD ROM, to help with the analysis and conclusions

- using satellite images (e.g. from ‘Window on the World’ CD ROM)

- downloading location maps from CD ROMs (e.g. Encarta) or websites (eg,

- capturing images of the fieldwork on digital camera

- using data loggers to help with collection of, e.g. weather data

- collating group data with the use of spreadsheet or database software.

• It is assessed as part of Data presentation. Appropriate uses of ICT could include:

- printouts of spreadsheets in the form of tables, charts, graphs

- annotated digital camera images

- graphics packages to plot river or beach profiles from data collected in the field

- annotated maps and satellite images.

• It is assessed as part of Planning and organisation. As part of this criterion, candidates will be assessed on the overall contribution that ICT has made to the study, particularly the extent to which they have been successful in using 1CT appropriately, and the extent to which the use has been integrated into the finished study. Candidates should still be encouraged to produce hand-drawn diagrams where this is likely to be the more effective method - for example for annotated sketch maps.

The presentation of the completed investigation

• The completed coursework should consist of text supported by relevant maps, diagrams, tables, photographs and other illustrations appropriate to the nature of the enquiry. Video tapes, audio tapes and other media may be submitted, but candidates should be advised that their use is no substitute for the required text.

• The work should be submitted on A4 paper secured in a simple, lightweight folder. Plastic wallets and ring binders should not be used.

• Centre and candidate names and numbers should be clearly written on the front cover.


The assessment of the coursework

Assessment Criteria Mark
1 Introduction and aims 6
2 Data collection 15
3 Data presentation 15
4 Analysis and conclusions 15
5 Planning and organisation 12
Total marks 63