19 Aug '14

News What is the point of GCSEs?| Rebecca Ratcliffe

Education experts question whether we need GCSEs now that young people will have to stay in education or training until the age of 18. Once an end-of-school exam, are they still relevant?I remember when Kenneth Baker came up with GCSEs in 1988. The idea of having a general certificate which would apply to most of the population rather than the previous situation predicated on the idea that O-levels were for the elite and CSEs were second rate was a very egalitarian move. It's a shame that it was sullied by performance tables and by people playing around with vocational qualifications. At the moment, lots of students are educated in 11-16 schools. Unless that system is changed and we use assessment as it ought to be used, to help students know what they need to do better, rather than for league tables my guess is that we will still need to have some form of external assessment to make decisions about post-16 pathways. Continue reading...

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