At last, something Michael Gove and Stephen Twigg agree on. Both the Education Secretary and his opposite number agree that efforts need to be made to tackle pupils entering the same exams multiple times, sometimes even through multiple exam boards. There are often legitimate reasons but the practice has become more c used to boost grades. In light of today’s GCSEs results, the shadow Education Secretary has urged Gove to target schools that are gaming the system; to ensure ‘the system is robust, so students only need to take the exam once.’
Good idea, except the Education Secretary has already recognised the issue and taken steps to address it. In March 2012, Gove publicly encouraged Ofsted to tackle this ‘discouraging trend’, while his curriculum reforms are destined to end unnecessary multiple exam entries. As schools minister Elizabeth Truss points out over at the Telegraph, the EBacc has added more rigour while addressing the fragmented exam system inherited from Labour.
Gove has been rather protective of his efforts to reform examinations. A spokesman for the Department of Education said today:
‘The abuse of early and multiple entries is one of the reasons why this Government’s reforms of GCSEs are so badly needed. Schools should not be entering children for exams early, and then for re-sits, or other exams in the same subject. It is not good for pupils and should not happen.
‘It is clearly a worry that some schools might be putting pupils for early entry so they can ‘bank’ a C rather than studying the subject for another year and perhaps getting a better grade.
‘Scrapping modules and moving to end-of-course exams will help stop schools ‘gaming’ the system in this way.’
During my A-levels, I recall one pupil who took a maths paper four times in a desperate desire to gain the B grade needed for his university offer. In two separate January and June exam seasons, he slowly worked up to a C grade but never achieved the golden B. Having four opportunities to get the best possible grade in GCSE or A-Level exams was not what these qualifications were created for. Gove and Twigg normally love scrapping. But on this they are agreed: the system need to change.Tags: A-Levels, Education reform, GCSEs, Michael Gove, Stephen Twigg, UK politics