STUDENTS have given a mixed reaction to the latest plans for overhauling GCSEs.
Education secretary Michael Gove today set out his vision for “more challenging, more ambitious and more rigorous” exams.
Under the proposals, teenagers will study the likes of Jane Austen, Charles Dickens and William Wordsworth in English Literature, advanced algebra, statistics and probability in maths, and complete an in-depth study of one of three eras in history.
Exams regulator Ofqual has also published a separate report setting out changes to the structure of GCSEs, including abolishing the modular exam system so students are tested at the end of a two-year course and only allowing coursework where exams cannot test certain skills or knowledge.
Education minister Elizabeth Truss has defended the overhaul, claiming it was needed to allow British students to compete academically with those in other countries.
As previously reported in your Worcester News, details of the changes leaked last week were met with concern by Worcestershire headteachers.
They felt the move away from coursework would unfairly disadvantage those who did not cope well under exam conditions, grouping exams and limiting re-takes would put undue pressure on students and using numerical grades was unnecessary.
This morning, Year 10 pupils at Pershore High School echoed some of their worries, while others felt the changes would bring benefits.
Mollie Cresswell, aged 15, of Pershore, said she feared how the changes would affect students that did not cope well under exam pressure.
She said: “Coursework gives you an opportunity to perform and achieve GCSEs at a level that shows strengths, not weaknesses.”
Jess Evans, also 15, said taking exams at the end of a two-year course could be a positive step.
She said: “It puts more pressure on you to do the revision and that might be a good thing, as it would encourage students to knuckle down.”
Richard Adams, aged 15, of Wyre Piddle, said he felt the move could be unfair on students.
He said: “It puts a lot of stress on revising. I think it’s important we are on a par academically with other countries, but I don’t believe the correct way is to put all tests at the end. I don’t think GCSEs should be changed at all.”
Defford resident Harry Bennett said he felt some courses could not be done without coursework.
The 15-year-old said: “Art is primarily coursework based. If you remove coursework, there’s not as much content to the course.”
The new-look qualifications will be brought into force from September 2015, with teens sitting the first exams in summer 2017.