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General Chat Thread, New O-Level in General; What are peoples thoughts to the scrapping of GCSEs and moving to O-Level type exams...
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    New O-Level

    What are peoples thoughts to the scrapping of GCSEs and moving to O-Level type exams

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    skunk's Avatar
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    Not sure the point as they are bound to keep all the monumentally pointless OCR Nationals, BTECs, Certificates of Personal Effectiveness', ALANs and myriad other qualifications that ensure that students will get equivalencies that mean no-one will bother with the New EBacc.

    /rant - bad day!

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    GCSE or O level, students are essentially trained to pass an exam at the age of 16. Whether or not they're suitable for additional training/education afterwards or able to work is a different matter.

    There's a mentality in the UK that qualifications and qualifications only are good and will get your jobs. It's complete nonsense. I'd much rather hire someone with years of IT experience rather than someone who has an A level or a degree in IT with zero experience.

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    skunk's Avatar
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    Agreed, as long as they can spell on their application form, and have got some nous about them then they stand a chance with me. If the first thing someone says to me is that they have a qualification, then they are likely hiding that fact that they cannot actually do the thing they are 'qualified' to do.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by One_Minute_Hero View Post
    What are peoples thoughts to the scrapping of GCSEs and moving to O-Level type exams
    I'm all for the change. We need a proper differentiator in our exam system. Having 22%+ get an A* or A is ridiculous.

    Quote Originally Posted by skunk View Post
    Not sure the point as they are bound to keep all the monumentally pointless OCR Nationals, BTECs, Certificates of Personal Effectiveness', ALANs and myriad other qualifications that ensure that students will get equivalencies that mean no-one will bother with the New EBacc.

    /rant - bad day!
    Nah, those exams are all worthless as the schools won't be able to use them to prove they're doing well in the league tables.

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    skunk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    nah, those exams are all worthless.....
    Enough said!

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    I think a single exam board is a good idea.

    I agree that school system needs to ensure that everyone can read, write and do maths.

    I have concerns that, while the new system will help with those of higher ability, the lower ability students will end up lumped together as 'failures'.

    Gove seems to fail to understand that not all students are academic and that to be suitably qualified for their future careers they might need vocational qualifications rather than history and Spanish.

    If we are to qualify people to work and have a suitable workforce, we must ensure everyone is able to develop the skills they have... and these may not be academic.

    I also have concerns that schools catering for lower ability students in grammar school areas will be seen to be failing because they can't get a high percentage of their students through the new system. No allowance is made for the fact that the top 10% plus of the most able students are creamed off by the grammars at present. The new system could make this worse.

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    Just posted a comment to BBCs website to this effect;

    This is the wrong answer to the wrong question. The state of GCSEs is a symptom of a wide problem. Returning to O-Level style examinations for "core subjects" is not the answer.

    We have a problem with youth unemployment so we blindly raise the school leaving age without looking at what these kids are doing for an additional 2 years - They can't all be doing A-Levels. Re-resitting uber-easy GCSEs perhaps?

    We have a problem of kids comming up from primary school without a solid foundation in the three Rs. So instead of telling primaries to stop teaching science, languages and ICT and concentrate on the basics we scrap GCSE and force every one to sit extra hard exams at 16.

    Our education system is a joke because it lacks focus. What we need is a ground up, grassroots level review. An open nationwide discussion. The sort of thing that takes years with experts in the field putting forward sensible recommendations to design a system that would meet our needs for years to come.

    Instead we get Gove's half hours worth of doodlingd on the back of a fag paper. All I can say is we got what we voted for!

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    Quote Originally Posted by elsiegee40 View Post
    I have concerns that, while the new system will help with those of higher ability, the lower ability students will end up lumped together as 'failures'.
    DD of high ability, now in Y5 was neglected for years so I'll take anything that throws a little genuine attention at her "needs and potential" as opposed to the what the school needs to look good in the bleeping league tables. The latter have led to some, if not most of the worst aspects of the system and although Gove did suggest the accountability/performance aspect were on the table for consultation I won't hold my breath...

    Not sure I like the "full EBacc" combination which feels jack-of-all-trades. Some folk can be absolutely brilliant at arts, bad at science/maths and vice versa but I'm not sure many HR depts are smart enough to grok that.

    Quote Originally Posted by tmcd35 View Post
    We have a problem of kids comming up from primary school without a solid foundation in the three Rs. So instead of telling primaries to stop teaching science, languages and ICT and concentrate on the basics..
    Have you seen a primary timetable? Numeracy, Literacy, Numeracy, Literacy, Numeracy, Literacy.. you need a magnifying glass to spot the rest. It's already appallingly narrow, too narrow unless you have an exceptionally imaginative teacher, and that's because of the bleeping SATS, teachers must raise attainment by at least 2/3 level, league table idiocy. That you're apparently seeing lots of below average kids where you are is not a reason to limit all the average+ in England kids to what would be a rather pathetic "education" at what we keep hearing is such a critical time in terms of setting future trajectories etc. Note that one of the current key-words (via OECD) is "equity", which is very roughly about accommodating and meeting the specific needs of specific individuals i.e. not treating them all like the lowest common denominator.
    Last edited by PiqueABoo; 17th September 2012 at 11:10 PM.

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    I have thought for a long time now that we are trying to teach too wide a curriculum at primary level.

    Let's see, we have to teach Maths, English and Science...fair enough...but then we have to do DT, finance skills relationship sh*t and who knows what else that they decide we should be doing.

    I think primary education should be about teaching the basic core skills and some social skills so that pupils are ready to start serious learning once they get to secondary...

    ...or am I being too simplistic?

    ...oh and primary school should be more fun so that kids get the idea that education can be fun too...

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    Does that mean primaries have stopped teaching playing in the sand and collecting milk bottle tops?
    My favourite subjects.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CESIL View Post
    but then we have to do DT
    Making stuff.. a la Blue Peter with some lightly attached dry academic excuse. I suppose some teachers might be capable of sucking the life out of it, but here that is very definitely part of the 'fun'.
    Last edited by PiqueABoo; 18th September 2012 at 12:25 PM. Reason: tpyo

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    Quote Originally Posted by elsiegee40 View Post
    I think a single exam board is a good idea.

    I agree that school system needs to ensure that everyone can read, write and do maths.

    I have concerns that, while the new system will help with those of higher ability, the lower ability students will end up lumped together as 'failures'.

    Gove seems to fail to understand that not all students are academic and that to be suitably qualified for their future careers they might need vocational qualifications rather than history and Spanish.
    Not really. Gove originally wanted to create a 2 tier system to deal with this very issue. A level of exams for the academically talented, and a level for those who don't suit it. The problem is actually the liberal side of things here - it is engrained in liberal ideology that everyone should be treated the same, and that is what is causing this problem.

    If we are to qualify people to work and have a suitable workforce, we must ensure everyone is able to develop the skills they have... and these may not be academic.
    Absolutely. However, do we want them doing this at the age of 16? It always used to be 'do an academic 11 years in school, then go onto other things' with those other things being vocational qualifications at colleges and apprenticeships.

    I also have concerns that schools catering for lower ability students in grammar school areas will be seen to be failing because they can't get a high percentage of their students through the new system. No allowance is made for the fact that the top 10% plus of the most able students are creamed off by the grammars at present. The new system could make this worse.
    This system is going to hit schools in poor areas hard, that is for sure. Not through 'ability' but through aspirations and motivation. I've seen it where kids are very bright but simply don't care and just doss about and therefore only leave with a few Es at GCSE. With the other qualifications being eliminated from the league tables, this means school achievement levels are going to plummet - and it isn't necessarily the school's fault, it is a wider social issue of families with multiple generations of non-employment etc...

    However, the thought I have is - why should the education system drag those who are higher ability down because we're so focussed on trying to get an extra 2 marks out of those who are lower ability?

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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    However, the thought I have is - why should the education system drag those who are higher ability down because we're so focussed on trying to get an extra 2 marks out of those who are lower ability?
    I agree.

    I have a high achiever who attended Grammar and it was the best place for her. Did she get best possible value added and achieve to her potential? I have my doubts.

    I'm also governor at secondary modern that has achieved Ofsted Outstanding 3 times in a row... no mean achievement... and gets fantastic results from "what's left" after the 11+.

    I'm well placed to see that one size cannot fit all. I agree things need sorting out at the top, but it should not be at the expense of those in the lower half of the ability range or their schools.

    Successive governments have been to quick to change things to suit their agenda rather than work out what really would be best for all young people... and for the future of this country's work force.

    All young people need to succeed in a fair and sensible school system. In a perfect world we would have 100% literacy and numeracy among school leavers... what we need is a means of telling the difference between those students. Success cannot be measured by failing of others!

    Education is an investment not something to be tinkered with constantly.

    At present I fear we will return to the education of my parents when those were bright got O levels and everyone else didn't get anything... nothing to distinguish between the more able and less able of the lower half of the ability spectrum.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elsiegee40 View Post
    At present I fear we will return to the education of my parents when those were bright got O levels and everyone else didn't get anything... nothing to distinguish between the more able and less able of the lower half of the ability spectrum.
    The others got CSEs, or went into apprenticeships...

    Also, I disagree about your statement that success cannot be measured by failing of others. The very nature of education and differentiating people means there are people who will succeed and those that will not. It is, in my view, silly to try and force a view that this is not the case onto the system we have. Ok, we don't want to just ignore those who won't achieve, they should be focussed upon to get the best they *can* achieve out, but we can't go around with the rather naive view that if we put more effort into it, they will suddenly become the next Stephen Hawking - it just won't happen.

    Part of the problem also exists that the system focusses on academic achievement as if it is the only way forward in life. We need more focus on finding career aptitudes of all children, and educating them according to what they're good at. If they're good with their hands, make sure they can read, write and count properly and then focus on a DT based education etc... But that's what the college system was there for, and apprenticeships.

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