GCSE Marking: Is it not a case of teaching to pass an exam?

GETanner

Active Member
Hi there,

Following the news that GCSE grades have dropped for the first time, obvious finger pointing has started.

Not having children, I have no first hand experience of GCSEs other than being the first year to take them way back when...

So, the marking schemes have been changed. Surely this shouldn't matter if the pupils were taught the subject rather than being coached how to pass an exam.

If you know the topic, you would get a good grade. If you were taught how to answer according to a known marking scheme, then that isn't learning in my view.

Do the teachers have a point about the way the exams have been marked or has their teaching to pass an exam caught them and their pupils out?
 

krish

Distinguished Member
I witnessed this a couple of years ago (and am also the first GCSE year, '88)
Doesn't bother me too .. and don't see what's new about this :confused:, local uniforms have done this for decades whether it's lad, love, son, sir, madam, mate ... I'm pretty sure they gauge the atmosphere and use language that'll put the person at ease

I'm more disturbed by teachers calling pupils mate :rolleyes:
- was on the tube the other day, when a non-London male and female teacher in their 20s were chaperoning a bunch of pre-GCSE pupils on a London school trip - all matey matey language, swearing, and advice from the female teacher on taking GCSEs and A Levels with the most coursework as they'd be easier to pass and get into University.
 

cornish

Novice Member
I witnessed this a couple of years ago (and am also the first GCSE year, '88)
strange as it may seem Krish, i'm also a first GCSE year and feel that if it was an english exam like the old 'o' level then my grade in english would have been better.

maths, french, physics, chemistry, german and history were all exams it was just english that was coursework.

i believe to ths day, that final exams are the best way forward and changing the qualification method back to the old way is the right thing to do.
 

captainarchive

Distinguished Member
i believe to ths day, that final exams are the best way forward
I don't, I must be a bit older than you and Krish because I sat the old style O Levels and the way they do things now is much better. With O Levels you spent 2 years 'recording' knowledge about the subject and then spent six weeks leading up to the exams 'cramming' for them. Course work helps you to apply the knowledge and helps retain it better and there's less need to cram for an exam.
 

cornish

Novice Member
I don't, I must be a bit older than you and Krish because I sat the old style O Levels and the way they do things now is much better. With O Levels you spent 2 years 'recording' knowledge about the subject and then spent six weeks leading up to the exams 'cramming' for them. Course work helps you to apply the knowledge and helps retain it better and there's less need to cram for an exam.
isn't that what we all do throughout life? 'recording knowledge'? GCSE is almost like you can do a bit throughout 2 years of study and forget it!

that is what life experience is all about sometime... recording knowledge.... if that knowledge has been 'properly recorded' then at the exam time, there is no need for cramming.
 

nheather

Distinguished Member
I have mixed feelings about this.

On the whole I think it is good that they are making the exams more of a challenge.

My daughter is currently doing GCSE and my son has just been through GCSE and GCE so I feel I have a good handle on the scope, complexity and methodology. In my opinion the scope and complexity is not that different but the way in which they perform the exams is much easier (especially at GCE).

I think the net result is that you can quite easily end up with a grade higher than if you did exactly the same papers but in the way that the old O and A Levels were taken - i.e. someone getting an A in a modern A Level could quite easily get a B if the exact same papers were taken in the traditional manner.


What I do feel is wrong (if indeed this has happened) is that the change has just been introduced at marking without any warning.

Another thing I find quite annoying (again if true) is that some councils and education authorities are threatening legal action because the new grading system is unfair on ethnic minorities who don't have English as their first language.

Are they seriously saying that exams should be dumbed down so that non-english speaking students can pass as well. Sorry if I went to live in France I would not expect the French Language and Literature exams to be dumbed down so that I could pass them.

Cheers,

Nigel
 

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