GCSEs are too easy and should be abolished. Discuss
Source: TimesOnline, May 5 2009
Asking how GCSEs could be reformed is the wrong question. We are tinkering with a system that was designed for a different age. What we should be asking is: why do we make our children sit these exams at all?
O-level and CSE examinations, the precursors to GCSEs, were introduced at a time when most students finished their education at 16. They provided an assessment of children at the end of their compulsory education and they told an employer something about that student’s ability.
Today, only a few do not go on to study for A levels, diplomas or other qualifications and by 2013 it will be compulsory for all students to stay on in education or training until 17. By 2015 this will apply to all 18-year-olds. What we really need is a sensible assessment system that helps 16-year-olds to choose the right course for the next stage of their education.
We are using GCSEs to do that job now. But that is a hugely expensive and bureaucratic way to help students, their parents and teachers to find the 16-plus course that suits them.The CSE and O-level system was more straightforward and far cheaper.
Today’s GCSEs involve an increasingly complex rubric of assessment and coursework, which lends itself to a flawed system.
One problem with course work is detecting plagiarism; another is the extent to which students may be helped by their parents, which favours the middle classes. [Read more...] about GCSEs are too easy and should be abolished. Discuss - TimesOnline