GCSEs

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GCSE reform: a modest proposal

2020-05-30T12:17:30+01:00May 30th, 2020|assessment|

The pandemic has cast many assumptions about how education could or should unfold into sharp relief. Like many others, I've been wondering about the positives we might find in our current situation and how - or whether - we can salvage anything when schools eventually return to normal. One area that seems to beg for reform is the way the exam season currently plays out. Here are some of the factors to consider: Accountability creates huge pressures on teachers which are, inevitably, passed on to students. Is there a way to break this chain? Along with these pressures, the quantity of [...]

The GCSE English "fiasco" – Why shouldn't all have prizes?

2012-09-02T13:30:28+01:00September 2nd, 2012|English, literacy|

Lots of folk have had lots to say about what went on behind the scenes at the various exam boards this summer and throughout it all I've largely kept my peace. Having absorbed the various arguments and counter arguments I feel I've arrived at some sort of opinion. In a nutshell, the issue seems to be that the prevailing (political?) opinion is that since the GCSE was first examined in 1988 (incidentally the year I took my exams) standards have steadily declined whilst grades have inexorably risen. For the past 24 years this orthodoxy has been if not unchallenged, at least [...]

Exam analysis

2011-08-28T13:17:35+01:00August 28th, 2011|assessment, leadership|

September looms and I've already been given an appointment for my Progress Meeting to discuss last year's results and strategies for this year's. On the one hand, I could be forgiven for feeling quite complacent: the English faculty achieved 84% A*-C which is up 16% from last year and an unprecedented success rate for the school. Our English Literature results have done up from an already outstanding 93% to a phenomenal 98%. Media Studies is also at 98% and 66% A*-A (this with 90 students having been entered - almost 3 times as many as previous years). I think I could [...]