The announcement that Education Secretary Michael Gove wishes to replace the GCSE system with the English Baccalaureate Certificate is nothing but another nail in the coffin that is the morale of the British student body.
By completely removing the current system and replacing it with a three hour “all-or-nothing” exam, you are taking away the chances that students have of obtaining a higher grade through the use of coursework, as well as increasing the crushing sense of pressure that every child will face in a three hour exam. If you combine this with the fear that they will not pass, and will have to retake, whilst their friends attend further education without them, you are creating a sense of inadequacy within the student which may dishearten them towards further education.
By allowing coursework, and exams throughout the years, you are also enabling those less academically minded, and students who do not always show their full potential under exam conditions, to persevere and study for one particular topic at a time, whilst a long exam at the end of two years may be too much for them to manage successfully.
Mr Gove and Mr. Clegg stated in the Evening Standard newspaper: "We believe that if we remove modules and reduce coursework, get rid of the factors that encourage teaching to the test and, above all, ensure there is just one exam board for each subject, we can restore faith in our exams and equip children for the challenges of the 21st century."
Ever since the GCSE’s were implemented in 1988, every successive group of students that have taken them have been told that the exams are getting easier, yet are never congratulated on the high grades that they obtain. Students that are studying for their GCSE’s this year have access to a wider range of resources than the students of the early 1990’s, over thirty years later. With the development of technology and the internet, combined with improvements of the standards of teaching, there is more information obtainable for the present day student to learn from, and the interactivity of modern computer programs and web pages allows for those who learn visually to gain the best possible experiences from their research.
By removing the current system and replacing it with the one proposed by Mr. Gove, we could be stunting the growth of our children’s education development, perhaps permanently, and it could be a mistake with British students may never recover from.
By Adam Wilson