The forecast that the latest set of GCSE exams to be held later this year will be a disaster is terrible news for the students sitting the exam. Teachers are saying the recent changes will take far longer to implement than has been assumed by the Department for Education (DfE).
The rationale for the changes made by the DfE was to improve the standard of educational in England and move the UK further up the OECD international league table for educational standards. Ironically it would appear that with a reduced number of passes the quality will perhaps improve but the lower quantity passing will imply we have a disaster on out hands. Like all statistics it is what you read into the figures that will capture the headlines. In previous years the DfE heralded the ‘improved’ pass rate as a measure of improved educational standards, whilst the realists believed they were a result of falling exam standards.
The changes intended to improve standards are now equally damned. The DfE waving the improved standard flag will be met with teachers who believe there will be a gnashing of teeth as the changes will take longer to implement than the time available. But the real losers are the student guinea pigs, passing or failing on the whim of the DfE rather than their developed ability. The reduced option for re-sits serves to exacerbate the situation.
One clear omission from the National Curriculum is perhaps a course in understanding of how to sue the DfE who have impacted on the learning scope and quality of the 15-year educational journey. Unfortunately, despite the grave misgivings of the teaching profession, all bets for a rethink are off until after the general election. Then there will be a settling in period for either a new government or the inevitable reshuffle for the current government. Net effect; nothing will happen until the stuff hits the fan with the August exam results. Perhaps a letter of apology from the DfE to each failing student might be in order. Then a period of reflection allowing the DfE to listen to what teachers actually think about the exam restructuring and how this mess can be resolved once and for all.