I nearly crashed the car this morning when I heard the news that Mr Gove has plans to re-introduce o level style exams. After I had re gained control of the wheel I checked the date. To my surprise it wasn’t April 1st.
Let’s be clear. GCSE history is not too hot. Competition amongst exam boards is to partly to blame. So are the questions that are asked when related to the mark-schemes. One bears no relation to the other. It is simply, ‘can you guess what is in my head’? I have never been a huge fan of GCSE history.
But is a return to a system that the Conservative Government decided was outdated in the mid 1980s? I think not. OK, GCSE history ain’t anything compared to a great Key Stage 3 curriculum – but at least it does try to assess some of the main historical skills.
What we really need is one exam board, or even better, teachers should be trusted to make their own judgements on the attainment of students by the age of 16 and award grades. Exam boards should simply moderate the judgements and approve the programmes of study. Now if I heard this broadcast on the news whilst driving I really would crash my car!
I do hope that the announcement that Mr Gove is considering introducing something similar to o levels and CSEs, leaked to that fine bastion of objectivity: The Daily Mail, was exactly what Nick Robinson tweeted earlier today: just a distraction to get people to stop focusing on the omnishambles.
I do hope so, but after looking at the draft programmes for the primary National Curriculum, unfortunately I fear the worst.