[Education Secretary] Mr Gove is reported to be preparing to scrap GCSEs for England from autumn 2014, but did not confirm any details… Mr Gove said action was needed because the current exam system was letting children down.
“Children are working harder than ever but we are hearing that the system is not working for them,” he said. “We want to tackle the culture of competitive dumbing down.”
He said rigor needed to be restored to the system if England was to keep pace with educational improvements in some other countries…
GCSEs replaced O-levels and CSEs in the mid-1980s. Under the previous system, the more academic teenagers took O-levels while others took CSEs (Certificates of Secondary Education)….
The plan is for students to begin studying what the leaked document says will be “tougher” O-level style exams in English, maths and the sciences from September 2014. They would take their exams in 2016. So, pupils starting their GCSE courses in September 2013 could be the last to take them.
Areas to think about:
These plans are obviously still provisional, but if implemented would revolutionise the ability of universities to choose between candidates applying to medical school. Rather than a clear majority of straight A/A* GCSE candidates, universities would be able to see genuine differences in ability again.
Alongside the recently-introduced A* grade at A-Level, medical schools may again be able to select candidates by academic ability, without the need for extra selection tests. Do you think it’s likely that medical schools would then drop exams like UKCAT and BMAT? Or would they still keep them out of inertia? How might these exams evolve to continue to meet university needs without duplicating the work of the new O-Levels and the discriminatory power of the A* A-level?