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Citizenship GCSE coursework – a few thoughts

January 20, 2012

We’re just getting our Citizenship GCSE coursework (controlled assessment) off the ground. Our basic approach is: let students choose their Citizenship issue and make sure the action they take on it is realistic and meaningful. This does mean more work for us as teacher, as we end up having to support students working on a wide range of issues, but the pay off is they are very motivated.

To achieve this, we spend quite a bit of time helping our students think through the range of issues they could tackle. There are lots of ways to do this, but one I like is to get all the students sat in a large circle, and in pairs, give them a small stack of blank A5 paper and a marker pen. Then ask them to write down any potential issues that might interest them on a single piece of the paper and place it on the floor in front of everyone. Keep doing this until you have loads of ideas on the floor. When students begin to run out of ideas, ask them to get down on the floor and start sorting the ideas into groups of identical or similar issues (see photo). When that’s complete and everyone’s back in their seats, not only will you have a clear representation of the classes’ ideas, but you can also see which ideas are the most popular. This stimulates lots of discussion and further ideas. Once this is done I ask students to form groups of no more than four, choose the issue they want to tackle for their coursework and start planning.

The next activity I like to use really helps them with their planning. It’s called Roots and Fruits, and requires students to map out their project plan by answering some simple questions. Rather than fill in a plain sheet (like the one below!), I give each group a big piece of sugar paper and they do their planning on that, with colour pens etc. The fact that it is collaborative and visual is helpful for many students.


I have also put together a coursework pack to guide students through the process. It’s not perfect, but I have attached it below as a Word document so you can use it or adapt it if it’s helpful.

Citizenship Controlled Assessment Pack


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