Michael Gove to abolish GCSEs in exams shake up
Michael Gove is to scrap GCSE exams in English, Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Biology, with new tests planned for 2016. Pupils in England will sit GCSEs, in these subjects, for the last time in 2015.
The Education Secretary had indicated, in his Education White Paper, that there would be a major reform of the exams introduced by the Conservatives a quarter of a century ago, the Guardian reports.
Culture of resits
"The problem that we had is that instead of sitting every part of a GCSE at the end of a course, bits of it were taken along the way. Those bits could be resat. That meant instead of concentrating on teaching and learning you had people who were being trained again and again to clear the hurdle of the examination along the way. That meant that unfortunately less time was being spent developing a deep and rounded knowledge of the subject,” explained Michael Gove.
"I think it's a mistake and I think the culture of resits is wrong. I think that what we need to do is make sure, certainly at GCSE, that you have a clear two-year run."
The changes, which will be introduced in stages will begin in 2014 when pupils will start studying for the new exams in the core subjects. By 2016 pupils will sit the new exams.
Michael Gove must explain his changes
The changes have not been welcomed by all and Stephen Twigg, the Shadow Education Secretary, commented: "Michael Gove must explain his changes to parents and pupils. Will going back to O-levels for some and CSEs for the rest really improve standards for all? Labour wants to see a robust, rigorous and broad curriculum and exam system that is trusted by parents, pupils and employers. We will set a series of tests to measure these changes”.
In response to the Education Secretary’s plans the teaching unions said the move would prove “divisive for pupils and do little to address social mobility”.
"Thousands of young people will be taking their GCSEs today and at a time when they need a confidence boost they are being told by the Secretary of State that the examinations they are taking are worthless," said Chris Keates, NASUWT General Secretary. "There is no evidence that the current system is broken, that examinations are getting easier or that our qualifications are trailing behind the best in the world."
"Could it be that the Secretary of State is not confident that his education reforms will raise standards and is, therefore, seeking to cover his tracks by removing anything that can provide a year-on-year comparator?"
Brian Lightman, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders said, “Without seeing the DfE [Department for Education] proposals it is difficult to judge the impact. It seems that reintroducing a two-tier system which was scrapped years ago because it ended up failing large numbers of young people would be a hugely backward step. O-levels were introduced for a small proportion of the population and CSEs were seen as an inferior qualification for the less able. I can't see how telling young people at age 14 that they aren't smart enough to sit a higher-level GCSE will help to address social mobility and raising aspirations. However, we need to see the actual proposals from the DfE before we can accurately predict what the consequences, intended and unintended, will be."