Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Education, has set out his proposals to reform the Key Stage 4 exam system.
In the core academic subjects - English, mathematics, sciences, history, geography and languages – GCSEs would be replaced with new qualifications, to be called English Baccalaureate Certificates.
The reforms are a departure from the current system in which schools choose between GCSE qualifications offered by a number of competing awarding bodies. Instead a competition will be held to identify a single suite of qualifications provided by a single awarding body.
A public consultation on these reforms will run until 10 December. The consultation sets out the government’s intention to increase rigour in the new qualifications and the characteristics against which this will be assessed.
Michael Gove said:
“We want to ensure that modules - which encourage bite-size learning and spoon-feeding, teaching to the test and gaming of the system - go, once and for all.”
“We want to remove controlled assessment and coursework from core subjects. These assessment methods have – in all too many cases – corrupted the fair testing of students. We want to ensure that children are tested transparently on what they - and they alone - can do at the end of years of deep learning.”
“We also want to end the current two-tier division of exams into foundation and higher tiers which condemn thousands of students to courses which explicitly place a cap on aspiration.”
“And – critically – we will end the competition between exam boards which has led to a race to the bottom with different boards offering easier courses or assistance to teachers in a corrupt effort to massage up pass rates.”
Read Michael Gove’s speech in full here.