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The reformed GCSEs are designed for robots – not pupils

Discussion in 'Education news' started by TES_Rosaline, Jan 10, 2019.

  1. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    A generation of children are being ‘programmed’ to perform a set of assessments rather than learn different subjects:

    ‘The majority of students are lumbered with the reformed (re-formed?) qualifications, because at the outset the then education secretary Michael Gove told his party, parliament and the nation as a whole that new GCSEs would be “more rigorous”…

    There is a strict and severe emphasis on answering the question. No one can deny the importance of focus: how many good grades have been lost because our students have veered off the point? But is “rigour” really a route to a compliance culture where the most important thing is to work out what you are being asked to do? Is that really such great training for a future that will require the nation to be more inventive and creative than it has ever been?

    Or do we take the third meaning of "rigour": “harsh and demanding conditions”? The much-quoted thirty-odd hours spent in an exam hall could be said to be “harsh and demanding conditions”. The effects of the rigorous exam culture seem to be producing a lot of stress. So, by robotic logic, the exams must be “rigorous”.’

    What do you think? Are the new GCSEs merely designed for pupils to complete assessments rather than facilitate independent learning and build on existing knowledge? Do you think the exam reforms were needed? If yes/no, why?

  2. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    I hate the new Science GCSE course - it's just too hard for too many pupils - even at foundation level.
    Catgirl1964, Shedman, Jamvic and 2 others like this.
  3. briancant

    briancant Occasional commenter

    The maths 9-1 is way to hard. To ask students to sit an exam after 11 years of schooling where they are expected to get around 20%-30% is bonkers and serves no one. To combine the low pass mark with a multi-choice element (as AQA does) just makes the results unreliable.
    Shedman likes this.
  4. Oldfashioned

    Oldfashioned Senior commenter

    English has become two years of learning how to answer each question on the exam with no real depth of study or understanding. No fun, no tangental discussions and learning, no creativity, no different way of doing things. Yawn.
    Mrsmumbles and Shedman like this.
  5. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    Yes indeed. It now sucks. And the IGCSE exams are weird. Some very odd tasks. So overall, a failure. I liked the old AQA and OCR UK exam boards. Lots of interesting British poets and good world literature too.
  6. bessiesmith

    bessiesmith Occasional commenter

    I actually prefer the new Music spec. The coursework hasn't changed much except for making the rules a bit more explicit, with fewer loop holes. The listening exam on the old spec could be answered almost entirely by memory - meaning no real musical skill was needed. The use of 'unknown' pieces of music on the new spec means that students have to understand the terminology and know what it sounds like in order to answer.

    The new spec is harder, but given that you needed 90% on the old spec for an A*, but just 84% on the new spec for a '9' it just means you expect to score less.
  7. gainly

    gainly Established commenter

    It is too hard for most pupils, although the first half of the higher paper is too easy for the brightest students. The new higher paper is probably slightly easier than the O level paper I sat in 1967, where the pass mark was around 45% compared to around 15% for a grade 4 on the new higher exam. The difference was only about 20% of the year group nationally would have done O level, and it was accepted that the point of an exam was that not everyone would pass.

    The problem is there are only 2 tiers to cover a vast range of abilities so many students have to sit an exam which is too hard for them. The old KS3 SAT papers had 4 tiers with a lot of overlap, 3-5, 4-6, 5-7 and 6-8. This meant almost everyone would have a paper they should be able to have a reasonable attempt at.
    briancant and agathamorse like this.
  8. Catgirl1964

    Catgirl1964 Occasional commenter

    I have said before on a previous thread that, now the exams have become more 'rigorous', at least four different levels of difficulty should be introduced. Then perhaps the half of students who find the current system too challenging would not be so turned off and therefore misbehave. At least if the weaker students feel they can get some questions right without grinding to a halt 10 minutes in to the paper, they will be incentivised to tackle the exam.
  9. hammie

    hammie Lead commenter

    seems an awful lot like the last version of the KS2 English, just ticking things off with no concern for the actual quality of writing. Wonder if the same barnpots helped design it all. Never mind Gove might be the next Tory leader, not sure what he can mess up next.
  10. gainly

    gainly Established commenter

    Well he's messed up education and then justice. He's currently messing up the environment, so next the UK and then the world.

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