How the commentators are reacting to the proposed GCSE exam reforms

Following the news and reports of the proposed examination reforms, the newspapers are starting to give their opinions of what’s been laid out so far. Here’s a brief selection of some of comments this morning from across the spectrum, with few surprises to be had on the lines they each take…

The Guardian has a couple of largely unflattering articles on the reforms…

“Michael Gove’s GCSE reforms are tame, backward and not even new” by Melissa Benn has this…

There is plenty of evidence on what makes a stimulating, modern curriculum, but Gove, the rigid traditionalist, is rejecting it. 

More at: Michael Gove’s GCSE reforms are tame, backward and not even new

“English baccalaureate: another dog’s dinner of a plan for exam reform” by John Bangs goes on…

This is the result of the coalition agreement rather than any meaningful input from teachers, parents or young people.

More at: English baccalaureate: another dog’s dinner of a plan for exam reform

In the i editor Stephan Hatfield bemoans what he sees as the wider issue of teaching to exams…

Whether the exams are called O-levels, GCSEs, EBCs or EBaccs is immaterial if we persist in the entirely self-destructive method of teaching our children primarily to pass exams, rather than actually educating them. Some things really are too precious and vital to be left to the open market.

More at: i Editor’s Letter: Teaching kids just to pass exams is self-destructive

The Telegraph is generally positive about the reforms but hopes for cross party consensus on the way ahead in this editorial…

There will be a jolt when the new system is introduced and a cohort of students finds itself in a world where top grades are not so readily earnt. And many parents will be unhappy at yet another upheaval in our schools – though that is not a valid argument for allowing a failed system to continue. What matters now is that consensus should be built around these changes, for the education of our children should not be used as a party political football. 

More at: An exam system that passes the test

The Daily Mail is also in favour with these editorial comments…

This paper believes his new exams should do much to end the dumbing down that has so discredited GCSEs and betrayed those who have sat them. In particular, the Mail welcomes the Education Secretary’s proposal that only one exam board should set papers in each subject – so ending the ‘race to the bottom’ in which boards compete with each other to offer the easiest exams. Clearly, it also makes sense to abolish modular and rolling assessments, which allow candidates to bump up their grades by re-sitting sections of their exams or submitting work done with help from parents, friends – or Wikipedia.

More at: Rigorous exams are vital for our future

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