Time to look at our GCSEs?

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by chocolate_frog, Aug 25, 2011.

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  1. Reading the Telegraph it appears that nearly a quarter of exam results in this years marking were A or A*....

    GCSE results 2011: quarter of exams graded an A - Telegraph

    I am NOT taking anything away from the pupils who have studied and succeded, but is it nottime we looked, and looked hard at our exams?

    Surely if 25% are achieving A or A* we need to reset the results at the very least. This result, whilst it looks good on a results/stats page actually makes it difficult for us to see the quality to raise in to University.

    Or are the exams themselves not to blame, but hte league tables causing schools to 'teach to the test'?

    What changes could be made to the examnations?

    Course work? More or less?
    Exams? Greater or lesser effects upon the results?
    Should we encourage greaater learning skills or greater fact retention?
  2. GCSE?

    All my O Levels are Oxford and Cambridge Externals.:thumright:
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  3. I think the whole exam system in this country is buggered. A friend of mine got an A level (yes I know this thread is about GCSE's) in psychology, the only problem being that she didn't take either of the two exams and there was no course work. If you can pass without taking the exam, how on earth does anyone manage to fail the *******?
  4. In the days of yore when you got a school certificate for the completion of 5 years secondary education I got a distinction in both RE & PE..... I never attended either let alone sat an exam.

    Along with my certificate for swimming 30yds breaststroke it has served me well. :)
  5. I wouldn't worry about it. Universities are slowly but inexorably being turned into degree factories where all that matters is the financial forecast and meeting 'sales' targets. Before too long, a degree from a UK university won't be worth shit either.

    It always makes me laugh when people try to blame it on political meddling or social engineeing and claim a more 'businesslike' attitude would sort it out when in cold, hard and objectively measurable fact it's the businessmen who're ruining it. They just can't get their heads around the idea that a 'customer' shouldn't be allowed to 'buy' the 'product' unless they're qualified to do so first.

    I recommend snooker-ball-in-a-sock therapy for them all.
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  6. "OMG, OMG, OMG. I just got 74 GCSEs! Yeeeeaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh!!!!! All A+ apart from "Sink Cleaning", which was a B-, but I'm going to appeal it. Heeeeeeeey, I'm going to tuck my flab down my leggings and cry on Sky News. It's so emotional. I worked for two hours and got my dad to do the essay for me, bless him. AAAAaaaaiiiiieeeeee, Lavinia and Georgina got 104 GCSEs between them." (Bursts into tears)

    Sky reporter in flak jacket: "And what are you going to do now?"

    "I'm going to go to the University of Thornton Heath and become the next General Secretary of the UN".

    Overpaid Man With Beard: "I think we should be celebrating today. And as for those who think the exams are easier, Albert Einstein would certainly have failed the 'crayon your thoughts about diversity' exam, and he was a clever man. I read about him on Wikipedia.

    Sky reporter in flak jacket: "And now the weather".
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  7. I've actually got no problems with unis taking people that are not 'qualified'... after all the OU doesn't have entry quals at all. That said, the output at the end (ie the Degree) should be of a standard to actually mean something.
  8. This is not a new issue in my opinion.
    I took G.C.E. History and was double entered for C.S.E. in the same subject (got and 'A' and Grade 1) in June 1983.

    As a "favour" to the history faculty of my school (as I had done BOTH exams recently), I took a "pilot" G.C.S.E History as mock in the November/ Spring 1984 (not Sure now) after I had started my 'A' Level.
    I know I was of the opinion THEN that it was far more akin to a CSE, than to the GCE. From that time onwards, I thought that the GCSE was nothing but a waste of time.

    I got the impression over the years though, that the process of "dumbing down" the educational system has a longer history. My Father "metricullated" something like 12 subjects, no choice in which, in 1950 and that sounds and sounded to me a VERY tough hurdle.
    My Mother, in the later 1950's, took G.C.E.'s and I think that they were probably harder than the ones I took. Either that, or in the some way as fishermen tell tails, my Mother was "expanding" the reality too.

    The Modular type degree, the type which I took, also seems to be "easier", if for no other reason than it allows students to avoid subject matter that might be harder for them. God knows the A-levels of recent years seem jokingly easier.
    The fact though that 25% are graded "a' belies any attempt to deny that things have changed. The old "Bell Curve" grade divisions would have made that simply impossible. I was told after taking my A-levels that the difference between a "A" and "C" in History had been 3.9%, obviously to conform to the Bell Curve.
  9. Thanks for that.
  10. The OU is a unique option and can only realistically exist because it is. It relies almost entirely on traditional universities to produce it's teaching staff, most of whom are lecturers elsewhere earning pin-money.

    The other uncomfortable fact is that you need to be selective to maintain academic excellence amongst students and staff; you need to do it because that's what produces the research results. If we don't, someone else will.
  11. I'll have to dig it out, but a homeschooled kid with no quals othr thn a level 1 OU course got in to Oxbridge...
  12. I believe they are changing GCSEs from their current form with high courseware content to big bang exams a la O level.
  13. My son has received A and A* today, he openly admits its a farce and hasnt a clue about the subjects, I am quite passionate about mathematics, his A* is in statistics. He said he only did so well because of our crash refresher, (which I feel good about)
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  14. The OU qualifications are quite well respected and they give a definite benchmark against which they could judge that person's potential as a student. I'd be surprised if they took a school-leaver-aged person without a single qualification as that's how they shortlist for their aptitude tests.

    Education's intrinsically hierarchical: "I teach this to you, you demonstrate to me how well you have learned what I have taught and then I grade you accordingly". It's why we have exams in the first place, to place people in an order of merit. It's a shame so many people want to bugger it about.
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  15. You see I don't know why statistics is a GCSE. AS/A level yes, GCSE no. Surely it could just be covered as part of maths. Is anyone who is looking for sch a qual going to be happy with just a set of GCSEs?