Michael Gove’s schools revolution continues. The Secretary of State has used the debacle over this summer’s exam grades to announce proposals to abolish GCSE, an examination which he considers ‘no longer fit for purpose’; but also to reaffirm the importance of English Baccalaureate subjects in the secondary school curriculum. Having already ended modular assessment for GCSE courses beginning in 2012 Gove is proposing GCSEs be replaced by new ‘more rigorous’ exams in the E-bacc subjects. This presentation will address the following questions:
- Have exams become ‘too easy’ and standards ‘dumbed down’ – in the way Gove argues?
- Is there an alternative explanation for increased performance levels and ‘grade inflation’?
- Are Gove’s proposals really about bringing secondary education in this country more in line with that in ‘high performing’ countries – particularly those in East Asia?
- Rather than ‘modernising’ the qualifications system is Gove promoting a ‘reactionary’ and elitist agenda aimed at restoring the role of traditional academic education at the expense of other types of learning?
- What are the alternatives to the E-bacc? Are Ed Miliband’s proposals for a new ‘Tech-bacc’ a challenge to the Gove agenda or an accommodation to it?