Whilst much information was given yesterday about the proposed exam reforms, there are still many areas where the detail seems to be missing. At the end of their report on the reforms, the Telegraph has the following analysis of what they call ‘the unanswered questions: gaps in the syllabus that ministers have failed to cover’…
The reforms fail to cover subjects such as art, music, PE religious studies and design and technology. These do not come under the English Baccalaureate but they will also no longer be called GCSEs. What will happen to these subjects? And how will the Government maintain standards?
Ministers appear to suggest that the GCSE A* to G grading system fails to properly differentiate between pupils. Exam boards will “propose new and different grading structures”. How will this look?
The consultation document raises questions over the shape of the curriculum for 14 to 16 year-olds. Exam boards running single subjects will be expected to draw up syllabuses with universities and learned bodies, but what safeguards will be in place? And how will ministers guarantee access to a core curriculum?
The Government wants to do away with coursework assessment. But not all subjects can be tailored in this way. What happens with subjects such as art, PE and drama that are unsuited to the exam hall?
League tables have been criticised for promoting “teaching to the test” and soft subjects. But most parents are in favour of national rankings. How will ministers tread the line between accountability while avoiding the damaging effects of the existing system of league tables?
GCSEs are sat in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. But the new exams are proposed for England. Will this lead to a two-tier system?