Bye bye GCSEs! I’ll miss you!

So how does it feel to have completed an archaic qualification? (I pose this question assuming that most people reading are close to my age…)
I can imagine us talking in the future to our children who do exams with brain machines…

*shakes fist* ‘I remember back when we had to use pencils! PENCILS!’ Slowly, like the batty, bitter old person you’ve secretly always wanted to be, you lean in and hiss ‘You kids have it so much easier now. Back in my day we got slapped if we even had the audacity to THINK about bringing blue pens into the exam hall!!’

or at least that is a pretty ramped up version of what the older ‘O-Level’ generation seem to think of our exams (I mean, doesn’t the language the politicians use to describe something we worked so hard for annoy you? The ‘dumbing down’, the ‘decline’, the ‘race to the bottom’. Thanks guys!). I don’t blame them to be honest, I think people have a natural instinct to defend their education against the newer, ‘better’ qualifications that have since been introduced. If the ‘Flynn effect’ is anything to go by, insecurities about the younger generations succeeding our own intelligence may be justified! This is actually quite an interesting area, and is perhaps something that should be taken into account by papers that treat students like buffoons managing to bluff their way through idiot-proof tests.

I’m not sure how I feel about the new GCSE substitute qualifications. I like the emphasis on languages being one of the 5 key subjects (because with transport becoming more efficient the world seems smaller all the time- we can’t just sit and twiddle our thumbs behind the borders and wait to be spoken to any more) but I hate the idea of coursework being abolished. My friends will know about my disdain for science coursework of any kind, but at the same time I think it is necessary for essay subjects such as English. Some people that love writing and are able create neat essays to perfection at their own pace can then really struggle and break down under the pressure of one massive exam at the end of the year (like me!). It provides that nice balance. Similar thoughts on the scrapping of retakes.

Also not too keen on the lack of calculators, periodic tables and source materials. In the real world, people that work in these areas DO have access to these, so in a way it’s just more stuff to remember that won’t come in too handy later down the line. Or perhaps I’m just lazy.  Oh well, at least I’m not the one that’ll have to pull a Daniel Radcliffe for my exams!

But hey, it could have been worse. We could have gone back to a *shudder* two tier system.



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