Changes to GCSE's confusing according to teaching union in Lancashire
6:00am Sunday 3rd November 2013 in NW
PROPOSED changes to GCSEs have been branded ‘confusing’ by a teaching union.
Ofqual's new designs for the exam system will involve replacing the former A* to U grading system with numbers.
That the overhaul will also see coursework scrapped for most subjects has been criticsed by the NUT.
Pupils will begin studying the new courses in English language, English literature and maths from the autumn of 2015.
Another 20 GCSE subjects will be revamped in the same way, ready for teaching a year later, in 2016, with the first exams for those taken in 2018.
Exams will be no longer be graded with letters and instead rated numerically from 1 to 9, with 9 being the highest. Pupils who fail will be awarded a "U" for an unclassified result.
Simon Jones, Blackburn with Darwen representative for the NUT and national executive member for Lancashire said proposals should have been trialled first.
He said: “Although the new grading system is supposed to represent a new standard, this will simply be confusing for learners, the public and employers.
“Scrapping coursework and having a single three-hour exam at the end of a course is built on a faulty premise that by definition all other approaches represent lower standards.
“However modules and coursework all have their role to play in getting the very best out of all learners.
“The Government and Ofqual have not sufficiently consulted with the profession or secured the support of teachers themselves for the changes. This contrasts with the introduction of GCSEs in the 1980s when teachers were involved in and supported the reforms.”
Darwen Aldridge Community Academy principal Brendan Loughran said he felt enough time had been given to become more accustomed to the changes.
He said: “Essentially we have got until 2015 to get prepared for this overhaul. There will be some confusion, I think that is inevitable with any major change. For a while everyone is going to refer back and ‘translate’ the numbers to what they know.
“From what I can gather getting a ‘nine’ will be one up from an A*. There’s time to become accustomed before it is properly in force.
“I remember the GCSE’s overhaul in the 80s and people took time to adjust from the old O-Levels.”