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The Education Secretary Michael Gove has announced plans for the new GCSE's saying the new exams will be "challenging, more ambitious and more rigorous".
Speaking in the commons Mr Gove said:
"There will be more extended writing in subjects such as English and History. There should be more testing in advanced problem solving skills in mathematics and science."
The Association of Teachers and Lecturers have attacked the "haste" with which the Education secretary Michael Gove is proceeding with plans to overhaul GCSEs.
The teaching union said first year secondary school pupils were going to be "Mr Gove's guinea pigs".
Minister for education Elizabeth Truss defended the government's GCSE overhaul, insisting that it will lead to increased grades across the ability scale.
The minister said the new plans would help improve all students and raise grades among both high achieving and low achieving students.
The MP said that after comparing Britain to the rest of the world, the government had found the right approach for students through less coursework and more end of course exams.
English GCSE exams are to be made substantially tougher under controversial reforms expected to be announced today. Daybreak's Sue Jameson reports:
Russell Hobby, General Secretary of NAHT, has questioned whether or not the latest overhaul of GCSEs in England prepares students for the world of work.
He said: "Employers want students who can work in teams to solve problems, so I think this is quite a narrow vision of what education is for."
Details of the most radical overhaul of GCSEs in England for a generation will be announced today, including plans to scrap the current grading system.
Exams regulator Ofqual will publish a consultation setting out proposals that are likely to include plans to axe coursework in the majority of subjects, an introduction of end of course exams, and less re-sits.
The grading system could also be overhauled leading to current A*-G grades being scrapped and replaced with a numbered system.
The Department for Education is also expected to unveil new information on the content of the exams today.
The Education Secretary has announced plans to overhaul GCSEs and A-levels in England.
The reforms will see new GCSEs in academic subjects including English and maths introduced in 2015, as well as revamped A-levels in a number of subjects.
Michael Gove's proposals represent the most radical overhaul of examinations for 16-year-olds for a generation.
Last year, Mr Gove announced plans to replace GCSEs with English Baccalaureate Certificates, with each subject to be set by a single exam board.
However, this was later scrapped with Mr Gove conceding at the time "one of the proposals I put forward was a bridge too far".
Latest ITV News reports
On his third attempt, Michael Gove has unveiled plans to shake-up the current exam process for assessing 16 year olds in England.
As the government outlines changes to the GCSE system, we take a look at current maths exam papers. How well did you do?