As the government outlines changes to the GCSE system, we take a look at current maths exam papers. How well would you do?Read the full story ›
Michael Barry, headteacher at St Matthews Academy in South East London has said that he is concerned that the changes to GCSEs "feel a bit rushed" and may be a knee-jerk reaction to the English GCSE fiasco last year:
Mr Gove said the higher level of demand in the new GCSEs would equip students to progress to higher education or a good apprenticeship.
The Education Secretary said the government could "raise the bar confidently, knowing we have the best generation of teachers ever in our schools to help students achieve more than ever before".
He said there was a widespread consensus that the government needed to improve the examination system to "enhance public confidence".
Mr Gove revealed that awarding exam bodies will be given a clearer idea of what the government expects in each subject.
"Under the previous system, specifications were often too vague," he said.
"This caused suspicion and speculation that some exam boards were harder than others, undermining the credibility of the exam system as a whole.
"Including more detail in our requirements for subject content should ensure greater consistency and fairness across subjects and between exam boards."
Labour's Shadow Education Secretary said parents and pupils will be concerned by the "uncertainty" that Michael Gove has created around GCSEs.
"Pupils and parents will be concerned by the uncertainty that Michael Gove has created around GCSEs. Having first talked down their value and then failed in his attempt to scrap them, the Education Secretary is having another go at setting out his plans.
"We need changes to assessments in schools that will strengthen rigour and reflect the best ways of testing skills and knowledge. Encouraging more shallow learning of facts alone will not help young people to be prepared for the jobs of tomorrow. This will take us backwards.
"Michael Gove has had plenty of chances to bring forward evidence-informed policies but I fear he has not learnt from past mistakes. He keeps failing because he hasn't got a thought through plan to improve exams."
Changes to GCSEs will see fewer resits, less coursework, new grades and more exams.Read the full story ›
The exams regulator Ofqual's has published a report for consultation, confirming planned changed to GCSEs, including:
- Grading GCSEs on a scale of 8 to 1
- Examine pupils at the end of their two-year-courses, abolishing the modular system which allows pupils to take papers throughout the course. Exams will only take place in the summer, except for in English language and maths, where November re-sits will be allowed
- Cutting the number of subjects which have "tiered" exams - papers aimed at high and low ability students
- Only allow coursework where exams cannot test certain skills or knowledge
Ofqual's role is to make sure that qualifications are of high quality. GCSEs are important and valued qualifications, but we have seen over the last two years that they can be improved.
We want to see qualifications that are more stretching for the most able students, using assessments that really test knowledge, understanding and skills essential to the subject, and that are designed so that outcomes are well regarded.
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".
We want all children to succeed in education, and we need exams that are rigorous. However, the haste with which Michael Gove is pushing through huge simultaneous changes to both exams and the curriculum carries major risks that will put last summer's English GCSE debacle into the shade.
"We particularly feel for the children in their first year of secondary school who are going to be Mr Gove's guinea pigs. They will have a single year being taught the new curriculum when they are 13 and then move straight into the new and untested GCSE exam syllabus at age 14."
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.