Today, 17th September, saw the much heralded announcement from Gove about the shape of new GCSEs. There are some interesting and bold decisions but also some woolliness too.
So what is he saying?
1. There will in future be JUST ONE EXAM BOARD for history, something I have been advocating for years.
“In each subject area only one exam board will offer the new exams. Ofqual, as the independent exams regulator, will assess all the exams put forward by the exams boards. From those which Ofqual accept, the winner will be the board which offers the course which best meets the criteria, benchmarked to the world’s best, informed by academic expertise, and capable of both recognising exceptional performance and allowing the overwhelming majority of students to have their work recognised and graded fairly”.
2. There will be a ‘WHOLLY NEW’ qualification for GCSE history. They will be called EBC English Baccalaureate Certificates . What will that mean for SHP courses I wonder?
3. There will no longer be Controlled Assessment or Coursework in the CORE subjects, but he says nothing about the Foundation subjects.
4. There will be untiered papers in all subjects not just history. Special measures will be taken to record the achievement of low-attaining students who currently do not achieve a GCSE grade.
5. The new qualifications will be introduced for first teaching in September 2015 for English and Maths, with others following, so we have 4 years to prepare for the new history qualification. That seems a long way off. I suppose we must rejoice that the exam boards will be given time to do a decent job .