Major changes have been made to the GCSE system that will come into effect in 2017 and 2018. Instead of receiving A* to G, students will receive numbers 9 (signifying the top) to 1 (signifying the bottom) replicating the system that is used in schools in other countries. This move is an attempt to increase the standing of England's education internationally by allowing easier comparison with some of our rivals like Finland and Singapore, countries that outrank us globally. Ofqual, the body behind these changes, have also decided to get rid of classroom assessments and modules meaning that an entire GCSE will again be based on an exam at the end of two years.
Speaking as someone who has taken their GCSEs, this strikes me as adding even more pressure to a very stressful time. I was lucky enough to do my GCSEs the year before classroom assessments were implemented meaning I had the luxury of taking my work home, planning what to write and writing at my own pace. Not only did that distribute my workload but it also gave me the ability to redraft something that was not as good as it could be. So when it came to my exams I was somewhat confident because I knew that I had my coursework there to boost any poor exam results that I may get. It also gave me a change to be independent in my studies, something that has served me well at university.
Making students take one exam at the end of two year to represent the entirety of what they've learnt is ridiculous in my opinion. One the main criticisms of GCSEs and A Levels I had, is that it the teachers seemed to have an examiner's markbooks in mind whilst teaching. These reforms, in my opinion, will reinforce this. Education will become a tool to teach students simply what they need to know in order to pass their exams rather than something that can be fun and illuminating.