will GCSEs be harder from 2016?

(107 Posts)
2catsfighting Sun 17-May-15 18:25:57

I was wondering about families with children of different ages, and the different educational challenges they face. My eldest DS's education was at the time when course work was able to be repeated. His sibling seems to have a much tougher time of it.

sassytheFIRST Sun 17-May-15 18:33:29

Yes. No coursework at all, students have to do Ebacc (eng, maths, a modern language and a humanity - no btec in ICT or health and social care anymore...)and in English (which is my subject, can't speak for others) the texts have been changed for a more traditional, British written agenda so texts like To Kill a Mockingbird and Of Mice and Men have gone in favour of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Frankenstein.

IHeartKingThistle Sun 17-May-15 18:49:56

I honestly think it will depend on the student. Coursework is a disaster for certain personality types. Some kids suit exams better. And some need more time to mature before the end if Year 11. Many schools now start GCSE coursework at the end of Year 9 - some students will really benefit from being tested later, especially if they have a miraculous last minute change of attitude!

On the other hand, it will be MUCH harder for those who are anxious about exams, those who would have spent ages on their coursework, perfectionists, those who find it hard to memorise things. I think expecting them to do exams on Shakespeare, poetry, a play and two novels in one go is particularly hard if they are keeping them as closed book.

I HOPE it will become more about skills. I hope it will enable teachers to teach, rather than administer coursework and chase it. I hope it will make bad departments stop spoon - feeding kids. But I don't know how it will work in practice.

IHeartKingThistle Sun 17-May-15 18:51:37

I honestly think it will depend on the student. Coursework is a disaster for certain personality types. Some kids suit exams better. And some need more time to mature before the end if Year 11. Many schools now start GCSE coursework at the end of Year 9 - some students will really benefit from being tested later, especially if they have a miraculous last minute change of attitude!

On the other hand, it will be MUCH harder for those who are anxious about exams, those who would have spent ages on their coursework, perfectionists, those who find it hard to memorise things. I think expecting them to do exams on Shakespeare, poetry, a play and two novels in one go is particularly hard if they are keeping them as closed book.

I HOPE it will become more about skills. I hope it will enable teachers to teach, rather than administer coursework and chase it. I hope it will make bad departments stop spoon - feeding kids. But I don't know how it will work in practice.

IHeartKingThistle Sun 17-May-15 18:54:56

Oops sorry! And I meant 'the end OF Year 11' of course!

LimeFizz Sun 17-May-15 19:03:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SugarPlumTree Sun 17-May-15 19:07:10

Think DS will prefer no coursework but there will be tears over the language and this might influence which school we send him to.

TeenAndTween Sun 17-May-15 19:13:14

For DD1, luckily(?) currently doing GCSEs, the new system would be awful. She has dyspraxia and struggles to organise her thoughts quickly and massively struggles with essay writing. However given a bit of scaffolding she can do really well.

For DD2 who is only y5, I think it could perhaps be beneficial, it might suit her nature better.

The plus side for CAs is you get marks in the bank, especially if you are a hard worker. The negative side is pressure for 2 years, and in some subjects so much teaching for CAs that maybe general teaching and other techniques get side-lined.

Current method for MFLs is, imo crazy and in desperate need of reform.

I disagree with 'everyone to do Ebacc' too. Although I think generally that if people are capable of passing Ebacc range they should probably do them, making people struggle and fail with a subject they have no aptitude for, rather than allowing a different subject they can succeed in is
just plain daft.

TheFirstOfHerName Sun 17-May-15 19:22:30

Do you mean GCSEs from summer 2017 onwards? DS1 will be sitting most of his in 2016. They include the same amount of coursework as usual, and hopefully a Modern Texts context question on Of Mice and Men.

noblegiraffe Sun 17-May-15 19:26:27

Maths and English are changing for first teaching in 2015 with first exams in 2017, other subjects will be first teaching 2016 and first exams 2018.

Judging by how the implementation of the new maths GCSE is going, it's going to be a fucking shambles.

TheFirstOfHerName Sun 17-May-15 19:28:01

DS2, on the other hand, will be sitting most of his GCSEs in 2018, and they sound like a completely different ball-game. Grades from 9-1, closed book rather than open book, and much less coursework.

Many of the actual specifications aren't accredited yet, so I don't have concrete information about some subjects.

sassytheFIRST Sun 17-May-15 19:51:48

And don't forget grade "deflation" - current C grade will be equivalent to a grade 4, but you'll need a grade 5 (current C+/B-) to achieve a pass.

sassytheFIRST Sun 17-May-15 19:52:09

Giraffe has it. Fucking shambles.

TalkinPeace Sun 17-May-15 21:07:58

Its going to be an utter disaster.
I'm very glad my kids are above the age for that.
And feel incredibly sorry for any child caught up in it.
Especially those not in the top 10% of ability or wealth.

PiqueABoo Sun 17-May-15 22:05:43

So how on earth did schools (& children) cope when they changed from O-levels and CSEs to GCSEs?

OddBoots Sun 17-May-15 22:11:19

They have already changed quite a bit in the past few years.

At least the children on the new exams have number based grades to sow the difference, the ones taking GCSEs now are sitting a harder assessment but most employers won't know it is harder than a couple of years ago.

poisonedbypen Sun 17-May-15 22:13:16

They don't "have" to do ebacc.

noblegiraffe Sun 17-May-15 22:16:29

Pique the transition from O-levels to GCSEs took about 10 years and GCSEs had pilots where students took both GCSEs and O-levels for benchmarking.

These new GCSEs have been rushed in in a couple of years. There have been no pilots. Maths departments around the country have already started teaching the new GCSE to kids for whom this will be their only chance at a maths qualification but we don't know what the exam will look like because Ofqual have had to launch an investigation which has already missed its reporting deadline.

PiqueABoo Sun 17-May-15 22:33:14

Well being a cautious type I went looking first and the BBC had what appears to be the grand announcement here: news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/june/20/newsid_2516000/2516847.stm

June 1984, first teaching 1986, first exam 1988. Must have been delayed a year?

"It will stretch the able more and stretch the average more." confused

You know what's in the curriculum though don't you or is secondary-world consensus about to do a massive U-turn over the flack they throw at primary for teaching to the test?

DD is in Y7 and she's already touched a couple of small topics that are apparently new to the reformed maths GCSE, although perhaps they already taught those as standard.

sassytheFIRST Sun 17-May-15 22:41:18

Poisoned by pen - compulsory Ebacc was announced over the weekend...

noblegiraffe Sun 17-May-15 22:44:34

You know what's in the curriculum though don't you

Yes, but we don't know how it will be examined. If you look at the sample assessment materials put out by the exam boards then you'd understand how important this is. OCR and Edexcel put out quite scary exams, long and very wordy questions which will cause issues for kids with literacy problems, and which kids will need lots of practice of as it's nothing like they currently face. AQA put out something far more like the current GCSE. OCR and Edexcel threatened to sue AQA for stealing their clients by looking like the easy option (I believe) and Ofqual had to step in. They are now investigating exactly what the exams should look like in order to assess the stated objectives. They are finding it a bit more difficult than expected and have already extended their deadline and roped a load of schools in to sit test assessments to see what the kids find difficult. It's a farce. On top of that, we think that the pass grade will be a 5, even though the old grade C will be mapped to a 4. We don't, however, have any idea what the league table measure will be, nor whether it will be the kids who fail to get a 4 or a 5 who will have to resit maths in sixth form.

And this is just maths. God knows how many problems the other subjects will throw up.

AtomicDog Sun 17-May-15 23:05:01

sassy- do you have a link to compulsory beach announcement, please?
FFS. Will any subject other than Hist&Geog count as a humanity.

AtomicDog Sun 17-May-15 23:05:47

beach = EBacc.
My autocorrect will not recognise ebacc

noblegiraffe Sun 17-May-15 23:09:05

The compulsory Ebacc thing was in the Conservative election manifesto. Now that they've been elected we'll see if it becomes policy.

AtomicDog Sun 17-May-15 23:30:54

i thought it was just compulsory for schools to offer rather than all children take.
That said, I believe GCSE child care and GCSE health and social care haven't been re-approved for 2017, so I suppose children have to take something.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now