So the Education Secretary Michael Gove is planning to get rid of GCSEs and reinstate the O-levels and CSEs which means harder exams and less coursework.
I voted for the Conservatives in the election, I don’t regret it but while I did my GCSEs five years ago that doesn’t stop me from being pretty annoyed by this move.
I mean, those things were hard!
Exams have always been the bane of my life and I have yet to see the point of them. How is it fair that their future successes are based on a very stressful two hours of their lives? They might be having a bad day and one piece of important information slips their mind no matter how much they revised and that could be the difference between passing and failing.
Some people can just remember things and others can’t. Some people are fast writers and others aren’t. To have students express everything they’ve learnt in the last two years with a time limit tick tocking over their heads is not a good way to judge how much they know.
I’m not saying this because I’ve failed loads of exams, I have 11 GCSEs all C grade and above, two A-levels, two diplomas, a degree (fingers crossed) and hopefully an NCTJ Law qualification on the way. I have only ever failed one and that was my Maths GCSE for which I received a D, even then I took it again at college and passed. But I know for a fact if I were to study under this scheme I would be one of the students told to do CSEs because I’m not good enough to do O-levels, and considering how hard school is without the government saying you’re stupid it would add another log to the ridiculing fire.
I’m all for coursework though. I love it, because it demonstrates your skills over a certain period of time. You do all the work and you learn a lot more than if you were to just take an exam. You actually get to know about the subject because it’s research you are conducting yourself, not notes given to you by the teacher.
Like when I did coursework for Classical Civilisations, I got to know a lot more about the Parthenon and Alexander the Great and the rise and fall of Rome. An essay I wrote for uni did the same thing, all I was given was a list of questions to choose from and some possible books to read and was told to go and do the rest myself. Which I did and I came across Henry Spira who is an inspiration (you might remember that I wrote a couple of posts about him).
In my opinion you learn more by not doing exams and in all honesty when does what you learn at school ever come in useful? I don’t need to know about magnesium and potassium or about algebra. I just need to know how to count, think and most importantly to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard.