One self-centred, arrogant and conceited man is all it takes to completely change and quite possibly ruin the education system we have today. For upcoming students who are moving into GCSE’s, that man is Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Education.
Let’s start by explaining the reforms that will take place to GCSEs: the changes that will take place will initially only be for nine core GCSE subjects, the exams will be graded by using numbers 1-8, 8 being the highest, 1 being the lowest, scrapping the use of letters A*-G, no more modular courses instead full exams will be taken at the end of the two year period, controlled assessments (coursework done under exam conditions) will be completely scrapped, exams to be based on a more stretching essay-based system and pass marks to be pushed higher. The reforms will only apply in England.
One word jumps to mind out of all of this- ‘rushed’. I think (and hope) people agree with me when I say that this is a poor decision from Mr Gove, not that he regularly makes good decisions anyway. This will surely upset the students who are moving into GCSE courses AND teachers who have to change the structure of courses again. The idea of Gove wanting a more essay-based system harps back to O-Levels, until it was scrapped in the late 1980’s. This can only mean one thing- Gove and Cameron wanting to make gradual steps towards bringing O-Levels back, without actually bringing O-Levels back. GCSEs are hard enough now for most students, it’s unfair that the pass mark increases even further whilst the subjects are not getting any easier.
Gove says: “Young people deserve an education system that can compete with the best in the world.” Yes we do, but increasing the difficulty of the exams and evoking more stress for GCSE candidates is not exactly going to create a better education system. I remember my whole year group stressing about the fact we don’t get re-sits, but I now fear more for the next few years below me with the new reforms that Gove will introduce; indeed I am positive there will be more to come, this will certainly not be the last of it.
Furthermore, I am also a bit confused as to why Gove has decided to grade exams using numbers. It really does remind me of primary school, sitting the year 6 SATS. I see no reason for Gove to do this. This is the fourth time Gove has attempted GCSE reforms, he hasn’t got it right this time, and these sets of reforms won’t be the last.
Now I could go on, but I will leave you all with a quote which really sums my feelings up for these new reforms, and it would also save you from reading a long(er) rant!
Brian Lightman, leader of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said: “Simply making exams harder does not guarantee higher standards or mean that students will be prepared for a job. The curriculum should stretch and challenge the highest achieving students but it must also engage and motivate those who struggle at the other end.”
By Joe Massarella