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."
Pupils and parents will be concerned by the uncertainty thatMichael Gove has created around GCSEs. Having first talked down their value andthen failed in his attempt to scrap them, the Education Secretary is havinganother go at setting out his plans.
We need changes to assessments in schools that willstrengthen rigour and reflect the best ways of testing skills and knowledge.
Michael Gove has had plenty of chances to bring forwardevidence-informed policies but I fear he has not learnt from past mistakes. Hekeeps failing because he hasn't got a thought through plan to improve exams
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.
This report is clear that the problems in last year's English GCSE can be directly attributed to the design of English GCSEs, in particular the modular approach and the high level of controlled assessment.
The previous judicial review also came to that conclusion that it was the structure of the qualification that was to blame.
That's why we took immediate action to get rid of GCSE modules and are taking action to reduce controlled assessment.
The Education Committee is concerned that there is a rush towards separate exam systems for England, Wales and Northern Ireland, without careful reflection on what might be lost, or consensus that this is the right thing to do.
The turmoil surrounding last summer's GCSE English results highlights the importance of carefully developing new sets of exams.
A series of avoidable errors were made when the current GCSE English was being designed under the previous Government.
When pursuing future reforms, it is crucial that ministers and Ofqual pay careful attention to expert opinion and don't ignore warning voices.
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".
MPs have raised concerns about any plans for separate exams systems in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, saying such a move would be "regrettable".
According to a new report by the Commons education select committee, all three nations should continue to run GCSEs and A-levels.
It also urged ministers to "do everything possible to bring this about".
The call, in a report into last summer's GCSE English controversy, comes just weeks after Education Secretary Michael Gove wrote to his counterparts in Wales and Northern Ireland suggesting that differences in exams reform mean that it is time for the countries to go their separate ways.
The cross-party group of MPs also said that ministers and England's exams regulator Ofqual must pay close attention to expert opinion on exams as they overhaul the system, and not ignore warning voices if concerns are raised.
A report by MPs into last summer's GCSE English grading problems has blamed the controversy on poorly designed qualifications and a "series of avoidable errors".
It has been claimed that tens of thousands of teenagers received lower results than expected after grade boundaries were moved mid-year.
The Commons education select committee said that a "series of avoidable errors" were made under the previous government when the new courses were being developed.
The report said: "Several of the problems with GCSE English can be traced to the qualifications development phase".
"This underlines the vital importance of getting decisions right during qualifications design. Exam board experts raised concerns at the time, but these were not acted upon by the regulator.
"One of the crucial lessons to be learned from this episode is that Ofqual and ministers should listen when concerns are raised during qualification development, especially when they come from specialists in the field."
Stephen Twigg, the shadow education secretary, has launched an attack on Michael Gove amid reports that GCSEs could be replaced by ‘I-levels’.
"This is now the third time Michael Gove has tried to abolish GCSEs," said the Labour MP.
“He keeps failing because he hasn't got a thought through plan to improve exams.
“Changing letters to numbers and the name of the exams is hardly the key to higher standards.”