As like most people who commute late afternoon on the tube in London I crave for my daily copy of the Evening Standard. (Slightly an obsession of mine to get the days copy). However during reading one article in yesterday’s (21st August 2013) the headline ‘‘Schools 'encourage pupils to take English iGCSE because it is easier.’ (Online link: http://www.standard.co.uk/news/education/schools-encourage-pupils-to-take-english-igcse-because-it-is-easier-8777944.html) actually made me fuming for most of my journey back home. The article is based on one written within for The Times Education Supplementary (Online link: http://news.tes.co.uk/news_blog/b/weblog/archive/2013/08/20/schools-think-igcses-are-quot-way-easier-quot.aspx).
Examples of quotes from The Times article include:
“Compared to GCSE it is an absolute doddle,” is how one teacher described the qualification on a TES Connect online forum.“The first few times I tried it, I ended up trying to cover too much too quickly, and then realising I still had a whole term left!”
‘Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “What schools are saying is that it [IGCSE] is easier, there is more flexibility over which books pupils can read and so on, and those schools that were doing it were of the view that students were going to get higher grades than in GCSE.”
The second quote is true in the sense schools (well departments and even teachers) could choose the texts to study. However surely this is not a bad thing now. If pupils are being taught by a teacher that has a ‘passion’ for a certain text and invigorate students by teaching them that text in an interesting even inspiring manner. Might lead to shock horror, better exam grades and the possibility of getting more students interested in studying English at Higher Education.
Now from what I can remember of four/five years ago iGCSEs especially the English and Literature courses were very hard, even on par to some university exams I have taken. From both exam we had to learn several different forms of written work off by heart. We were not allowed any of the texts into the exam, so in my case I had to know THE ENTIRE SCRIPT of the famous play, The View from the Bridge by Arthur Miller and a book which contained 25 short stories and that was just for the English Literature exam. Whereas for the English Language exam involved learning an entire booklet of great varying pieces of texts provided by Edexcel (the exam board). Out of all my my i/GCSE exams, the English Language and Literature exams were by far the hardest ones. Especially when looking at the amount of information I had to take in
What just greatly annoys me is when adults especially in the sense teachers who really are ‘experts’ in that field criticise an exam for being ‘easy.’ When in reality many of their students who may not have the natural talent, in this case English my struggle dearly when studying for their exams. Articles like these completely destroy any form of effort students put in for exams which at the very least it demoralising and undermines students efforts when working towards i/GCSEs. As a opinon based article in The Independent today states, students need help not condemenation. (Link: http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/gcse-results-the-young-need-...)