Would you like to see ONE exam board for all GCSEs?

(18 Posts)
Erebus Tue 18-Jun-13 14:06:59

I was amazed that, imho, the only good thing about Gove's last attempt to tit around with GCSEs, about 6 months ago which was having just one exam board so schools couldn't shop around- was thrown out with everything else.

I can't recall but was it a potential legal challenge regarding 'competition', from the various Boards?

But to me, it's so obvious it's not true!

But do convince me otherwise if I'm wrong!

Talkinpeace Tue 18-Jun-13 15:51:20

No I would not.
Back in the day there were several boards : Oxford, Cambridge, Nuffield, UEA
the all had their quirks
BUT
the competition meant that they kept their exam fees down and their course materials up to date

Cambridge had better humanities if I remember, Nuffield was hot on applied sciences
so schools could mix and match to suit.

Why relevant now ?
Because if there was just one board, who would oversee it?

creamteas Tue 18-Jun-13 19:45:10

No, I wouldn't want one board, it would be good if under the new format there will be more variety on offer.

It would be great to have more variety in syllabuses so that schools can pick the one that is right for them. For example, a school with strengths in performing arts could choose an English Lit paper with more of a drama focus, and a school that teaches astronomy could have a physics curriculum that complemented it.

trinity0097 Tue 18-Jun-13 20:34:52

I'm a teacher and agree with you that one board would be much more sensible. It works fine for ks2 SATs, and it worked fine for ks3 SATs when they were done. It would make our life easier as teachers just having one syllabus, textbooks would all be geared towards that exam rather than textbooks that are specific to different boards! At the moment there is too much effort to be the easiest which isn't necessarily in the best interests of the country as a whole.

gillviola Tue 18-Jun-13 20:41:29

I have never yet, in many years of teaching, come across anyone who would recommend anything to do with SATS. Speaking as someone who has been involved with marking SATS at both key stages I would also never describe them as 'working fine.' In my opinion the debacle surrounding the SATS is sufficient justification for more than one exam board.

Talkinpeace Tue 18-Jun-13 20:47:20

trinity
the pressure to be the easiest was knocked on the head a year ago by the covert filming

now the pressure is on to be the most rigorous and therefore get more work on IB IGCSE etc etc

sashh Wed 19-Jun-13 03:35:42

* It would make our life easier as teachers just having one syllabus, textbooks would all be geared towards that exam rather than textbooks that are specific to different boards!*

Don't be silly, one exam board would have more than one syllabus per subject.

trinity0097 Wed 19-Jun-13 08:59:16

I very much doubt that in the subject I teach, Maths, with regard to different syllabuses.

My experience of KS3 and KS2 SATs has been great, the only problems came with the quality of markers for English and the lack of moderation (which caused the poor quality marking) not the papers themselves.

gobbin Wed 19-Jun-13 21:18:49

As England and Wales starts to go their separate ways with qualifications at GCSE level, we are faced with the potential disaster of HAVING to do the WJEC exam in my subject.

When choosing the old SEG syllabus (which became AQA), it was based on its relevance to our pupils. We rejected WJEC (boring and ultra-traditional), NEAB and OCR.

When SEG became AQA, the syllabus was updated and was still great. Another major revision in around 2002 wasn't palatable, so we looked around again. Edexcel was our preferred board. It appealed to us as staff as it played to our subject specialisms and was interesting and balanced in terms of subject coverage. We love it, kids get a lot out of it.

We are seriously unhappy about the possibility of a 'one size fits all' exam board, as it most certainly doesn't.

wigglybeezer Wed 19-Jun-13 21:30:30

We've always just had one in Scotland, it oversees school and further education course and exam content. Makes perfect sense to me, although I don't think grade inflation has been totally avoided here, they used to adjust the grade boundaries up and down if too many people got overly high or low marks but I don't think they have done that for a long time.

I admit the lack of choice may be dull for some teachers, and, with the advent of the new curriculum, textbooks don't seem to exist anymore.

Talkinpeace Wed 19-Jun-13 21:38:07

But there are not very many students in Scotland compared with England.

Pyrrah Wed 19-Jun-13 21:47:06

I'm not sure to be honest.

There certainly was a problem in the past with some boards being easier than others - at the time, Southern was reckoned to be far easier than the Joint Examining Board or the Oxford/Cambridge ones.

The universities knew the score (I just missed one of my grades and they asked me what boards I had done and then said it was fine and gave me the place), but it did mean that some schools looked better in league tables than they should have done.

lainiekazan Thu 20-Jun-13 14:03:23

When I was at school (80s) the school boasted that it chose the most difficult board for each subject hmm . As Pyrrah mentions, the school said universities knew which boards set easier exams. I really don't think they noticed.

I think there should be one board, or at least strong moderation to ensure parity.

wigglybeezer Sat 22-Jun-13 14:30:25

Talks peace, there is still the same variation in range of ability though even if total numbers are smaller.

mercibucket Sat 22-Jun-13 14:35:06

i'd rather we switched to i gcse and took the whole thing out of the political arena

tbh the worrying change to england, scotland and wales (northern ireland?) having different exams is more worrying

wigglybeezer Sat 22-Jun-13 14:52:27

Merci, why does it worry you? Universities are used to different qualifications from different countries. It does make moving round the UK tricky if you have secondary age children though. In Scotland some of the private schools who offer A- levels benefit as companies like BP subsidise schools fees as if their execs are on a foreign posting if they are moved up here!

Talkinpeace Sat 22-Jun-13 15:50:12

who is in charge of the iGCSE syllabus?
who moderates them?

Which Tory MP has family members/own buisness/busness interests in setting up exam boards then? There needs to be different boards because the students are different and the schools be trusted to pick which is best for their students.

Gove needs to get his head out of the dark hole it currently resides and let someone who actually knows anything about education step into his place.

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