I don’t know that a leak about proposed changes in school exams is exactly up there with deadly breaches of national security, but it has certainly caused a fuss. Someone whispered that along with scrapping AS levels, resits, the duplication of exams by the boards and Ofsted (only joking), Michael Gove intended to consult on creating more than one exam pathway at 16.
A return to elitist O Levels and derisory CSEs, cried critics – though in fairness no details of this proposal are yet even out for consultation.
GCSEs were an attempt to get away from a two-tier system of assessment that gave about half of children who took one tier, CSEs, a qualification which many believed and still believe was as good as useless – though I can remember as a student teacher being terribly impressed sitting in on meetings with local teachers moderating and planning CSE course work, by how very exciting, individualistic and creative it all was.
After well over 20 years of GCSE, it is now claimed bright children are not “stretched” and lots are still left feeling a failure, with a grade that is no help to them.
Hardly anyone now leaves education at 16 and within a few years the education leaving age will be 18. Why do we need an exam at 16 at all? You don’t challenge and stimulate children by exams – what ever they are. It is teaching and content that does that.