Pupils will sit fewer coursework-style tasks at school under new plans to overhaul “seriously flawed” GCSE English qualifications. This is the Telegraph’s view of the news…
Ofqual, the exams watchdog, said qualifications in the subject would contain less “controlled assessment” following concerns that the system was open to abuse by teachers.
It also emerged that teenagers’ speaking and listening skills – which are similarly assessed by teachers – will no longer count towards their final English grade.
In a consultation document setting out the changes, Ofqual warned that results are likely to fall because pupils generally do better in speaking and listening than other parts of the course, although it said action would be taken to weight scores and make them broadly comparable with previous years.
The reforms are being imposed in light of last summer’s controversy over GCSE English when thousands of pupils failed to receive the grades they were expecting.
An Ofqual inquiry found that teachers were guilty of significantly over-marking pupils’ work to boost results because of the intense pressure to hit targets.
Currently, controlled assessment – coursework projects carried out in the classroom under teachers’ supervision – makes up 60 per cent of marks for GCSE English. This includes 20 per cent for speaking and listening and 40 per cent for reading and writing, with the remainder of marks coming from a formal exam.
But the regulator is proposing to cut the proportion of controlled assessment and increase the number of marks awarded through a traditional test.
In a consultation document, it proposes awarding 60 per cent of marks for the exam and 40 per cent for controlled assessment, with the latter made up entirely of reading and writing.
The changes were criticised by head teachers’ leaders who warned that it would lead to the downgrading of speaking and listening throughout the curriculum.