Both modular and linear assessment have been politically contentious, and the opposition Labour Party UK , and particularly the former MP Tristram Hunt stated that it was their policy that such reforms be halted and reversed, maintaining modular assessment in both GCSEs and A-Levels. In some subjects, one or more controlled assessment or coursework assignments may also be completed. These may contribute either a small or large proportion of the final grade. In practical and performance subjects, they generally have a heavier weighting to reflect the difficulty and potential unfairness of conducting examinations in these areas.
In the past, these were available in a variety of subjects, including extended writing in English, the sciences, business, and foreign languages; practical assessment in the sciences and technology subjects; and speaking assessments in languages.
Since the s reform, the availability has been cut back, with mostly only design and technology subjects and performing arts retaining their controlled assessment contributions. In English, the spoken language assessment has been downgraded to an endorsement which is reported separately on the English certificate, not contributing to the grade. The balance between controlled assessment and examinations is contentious, with the time needing to be set aside for coursework sessions being seen as a burden on the school timetable.
However, the use of controlled assessment allows for the marking of some work outside of examination season, and can ease the burden on the student to perform well on the day of the examination.
Any of the above must be approved by the examination board. Other forms of help are available with the agreement of the examination board, but the above are the most common. If a student is ill or an unforeseen circumstance occurs that may affect their performance in an examination, they can apply for special consideration from the examination board. The procedures vary depending on how much the student has completed [ clarification needed ] , but in the case of sitting an examination, they may receive a percentage increase on their grade [ clarification needed ] to reflect this, or a consideration of their coursework and other assessment alongside their predicted grades, to calculate a fair grade based on their other attainment.
Most universities, in addition to their post requirements, seek that their candidates have grades of C or 4 or higher in GCSE English and mathematics. Many of those who achieve below this standard will later retake GCSE English and mathematics to improve their grade. A U, X, or Q grade does not award a qualification. Level 2 qualifications are much more sought-after, and generally form minimum requirements for jobs and further study expectations.
The education systems of current and former British territories, such as Gibraltar ,  and Nigeria, also offer the qualification, as supplied by the same examination boards. Other former British colonies, such as Singapore and Zimbabwe , continue to use the O-Level qualification. In the United States, the high school diploma is required for entry to college.
As A-Levels are generally expected for university admission, the high school diploma is not considered enough for university entry in the UK. Gender bias is another area of concern. Department of Education data shows that the relative performance gap between girls and boys widened significantly under GCSEs, compared with O-Levels.
The declining number of pupils studying foreign languages in the UK has been a major concern of educational experts for many years. Moreover, the publication of "soft" subjects e. Critical Thinking, General Studies etc. Mathematics, Sciences, Languages for GCSEs and A-Levels by the universities of Oxford and Cambridge has created an ongoing educational debate where, on the one hand, many educational experts would support this "division of importance" whereas, on the other hand, many head teachers would not only disagree but actually "oppose a move to solely traditional academic GCSE and A-Level subjects".
When the GCSE system was introduced, there were comments that it was a dumbing down from the previous GCE O-Level system as it took the focus away from the theoretical side of many subjects, and taught pupils about real-world implications and issues relating to ICT and citizenship. In addition, the proportions of candidates awarded high grades at GCSE have been rising for many years, which critics attribute to grade inflation. One of the important differences between previous educational qualifications and the earlier grading of A-Levels and the later GCSE qualifications was supposed to be a move from norm-referenced marking to criterion-referenced marking.
With criterion-referenced grades, in theory, all candidates who achieve the criteria can achieve the grade. The incorporation of GCSE awards into school league tables, and the setting of targets at school level at above national average levels of attainment, has been criticised.
This target was reached nationally about 20 years later. This was achieved with the help of equivalent and largely vocational qualifications. However several teachers, experts, and students posted the solution to the question on the media. In another case, concerning the GCSE biology exam, there were complaints about the apparent lack of biology content in the exam.
This serious flaw in the question confused many of the students. OCR accepted responsibility and claimed no pupil would be disadvantaged. The question was worth 40 marks. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
For other uses, see GCSE disambiguation. Contemporary Debates in Education: The Times London, England Retrieved 27 November Retrieved 14 June Archived from the original on 30 April Archived from the original on 27 May Retrieved 17 June Retrieved 11 October Archived from the original PDF on 1 April Retrieved 13 February They took my order immediately and assured to follow all my instructions accurately.
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