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Is it time to scrap GCSE English language?

Discussion in 'Education news' started by TES_Rosaline, Sep 11, 2019.

  1. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    GCSE Language is a misnomer. Any student of language at KS5 and above looks back on this qualification appalled. Gove removed the spoken langauge study.

    One third must fail the GCSE, even if their work would have been a pass the previous year, or the next, and their one year older or younger peers are enjoying the advantages of having passed. This means a grade no longest exists. Gove personally reintroduced this system from his 60s heyday.

    Gove personally removed the speaking and listening section from the GCSE. Gone are the 9 speaking and listening events needed to pass this section. A short single presentation in which the outcome doesn’t count is all that is left.

    What you are seeing is when a minister is allowed to personally interfere with the design of assessment based on personal views and with no understanding of the subject or how the theory of assessment works.

    And that is just one GCSE. All of them have similar issues, riven by the bigoted and uninformed views of Gove. GCSEs are not fit for purpose.
  2. sabram86

    sabram86 Occasional commenter

    As long as education is largely in the public sector, then schools and exams will be at the mercy of government policy, which has authority due to being elected. Like Gove or loathe him, he was the Secretary of State for Education. If you defend state education (which I do not), then you have to accept the consequences you dislike.

    It's worth noting that only Northern Ireland has retained speaking and listening as contributing towards the final grade, whereas England, Wales and IGCSE authorities have relegated it to something of an afterthought. It wasn't just Gove's doing; others have felt that it was not worth keeping. Surely the reduction in assessment to two exams and one (optional) speaking assessment is a positive thing.

    Public speaking and the like, when I was in school, was mainly assessed through presentations, speeches and poetry recitcal. It was quite enjoyable and it stood me in good stead to debate at Oxford. That might be the best route to take, rather than cramming more assessment into GCSEs.
  3. ScienceGuy

    ScienceGuy Established commenter

    This is not completely accurate. The number of students achieving a grade will vary based on the previous achievement profile of a cohort. For subjects like English, Maths and Science where the entire cohort takes GCSEs, this leads to fairly accurate predictions of examination performance. If examiners feel that the quality of the work is significantly better than the profile would indicate, they are able to speak with QCA and get permission to increase the number of grades awarded.

    Issues with identical work receiving different grades was an issue with controlled assessment, most notably with English coursework when the last A* - G GCSEs were introduced (2012), the issues involved ultimately led to the removal of controlled assessment / coursework from the majority of GCSEs and A levels.
  4. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    Yes, but this is about English. And both the norm referenced issue and indeed the lack of objectivity in marking are both substantive issues for GCSE English. It remains, there is no such thing as 'a grade' which is wholly comparable from one year to the next.
  5. bessiesmith2

    bessiesmith2 New commenter

    This seems to be a persistent problem due to the spoon-feeding nature of modern education. In the good old days, activities tended to be much more open-ended with fewer specific instructions. Students were expected to sink or swim. Most eventually learned to swim but some sadly sank. In an effort to reduce sinking, lesson activities have become more and more explicitly explained so that now everyone has learned to use a life raft but few can actually swim without crystal clear instructions for every minute detail.

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