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GCSE changes 'will enable deeper learning'

The new GCSE system will free students from constant assessment and help them understanding subjects better, said the head of exam regulator Ofqual.

GCSEs are being reformed to focus less on regular assessments. Credit: David Jones,PA Wire,Press Association Images

Glenys Stacey, Ofqual's chief regulator, told the BBC that focusing more on final exams means time can be "freed up so that students can actually learn and become competent in their subjects".

She added: "at the momnet too many students of whatever ability are sitting too many assessments".

New GCSEs will help all students, says regulator

The new numbers-based system for grading GCSEs will help less able students while making it easier to spot the most talented, said the head of the qualifications regulator Ofqual.

The first new GCSEs will be awarded in 2017. Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Glenys Stacey, Ofqual's chief regulator, said the move from eight gradings to nine means assessors "get a little bit more selection, which is particularly helpful at the top of the scale".

Glenys Stacey (centre), the head of exams regulator Ofqual. Credit: Sean Dempsey/PA Archive/Press Association Images

She told the BBC's Today programme that focusing more on final exams and less on modules would benefit the less able student, because "he's not going to be weighed down by assessment after assessment."

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English and Maths are first to undergo grade revamp

Ofqual said English literature, English language and maths will be the first subjects to undergo GCSE grade changes - these three subjects account for around a third of GCSEs awarded in England each year.

  • The first three subjects to be revamped - English literature, English language and maths - are due to be taught in secondary schools in England from 2015, with the first exams taken in the summer of 2017.
  • A year later, in 2016, new GCSEs in science, history, geography and some modern foreign languages, as well as other subjects often taught in schools like RE and art, will be introduced to schools.
  • Ofqual will consult on the range of subjects that will carry the GCSE title in the future, a move which is likely to fuel speculation that some subjects may not be part of the brand.

New GCSE grades 'to distinguish brightest students'

The overhaul of the GCSE grading system will make it easier to spot the brightest students, Ofqual suggested.

Currently, in some subjects such as maths and science, high numbers of pupils achieve A* and A grades which makes it difficult to pick out the top students.

Chief regulator Glenys Stacey said that in these cases "you then begin to question whether the qualification is doing its job in differentiating sufficiently your most able students."

Numbers system to replace GCSE A*-G grades

Traditional GCSE grades of A*-G are to be scrapped and replaced with a numbered scale under the biggest reforms of the exams for decades.

Traditional GCSE grades are to be scrapped and replaced with a numbered scale under the biggest reforms of the exams for decades. Credit: PA

An additional grade will be added into the current eigh-grade system, with pupils to be graded from one to nine - with nine the highest mark available, England's exams regulator Ofqual said.

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Government unveils shake-up of GCSE system

The existing GCSEs, which pupils have sat for nearly three decades, are to be swept aside, and a tougher and more rigorious exam will replace them, the Education Secretary announced today.

Pupils in England will attempt the new qualification from the summer of 2017. There will be less coursework and greater emphasis on final written tests.

Political Correspondent Libby Wiener reports:

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