East Lancashire teachers fear GCSE changes will hinder some pupils (From Burnley and Pendle Citizen)
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East Lancashire teachers fear GCSE changes will hinder some pupils
HEADTEACHERS say they fear proposed GCSE changes will ‘penalise’ some students and hamper learning.
Concerns over plans to scrap coursework have seen some headteachers speak of fears that some children will be worse off.
Heads at East Lancashire schools said a culture of exam only assessment would lead to more coasting early in the year, with stressful cramming at the end.
Others described it as regressive and old fashioned teaching.
As reported by the Lancashire Telegraph, proposed changes will see the former A-G letter grading changed to numbers 1 to 9, with 9 being the highest. All exams will also be deferred until after two years of study, rather than the current system of modules and coursework.
Headteacher Tim Mitchell at Norden High School in Rishton said children learnt more when they were being assessed all year.
He said: “I have no problem with the system being addressed so as to bring in more rigour. The problem is losing coursework isn’t going to help.
“Some children will be penalised without a shadow of a doubt, under an all-or-nothing approach like this.
“It does not accurately measure what they know. The impact on children is the main concern I have.”
Paul Trickett, headteacher at Oswaldtwistle’s Rhyddings Business and Enterprise School, said: “It is a very regressive and old fashioned approach. The way children learn is to assess them as you go, otherwise they are less likely to retain the knowledge.
“It’s been well established that a mixture of coursework and exams is a method which gets the best out of pupils. It also helps teachers to assess through the year which pupils are taking it in.”
Burnley’s Blessed Trinity College headteacher Richard Varey said: “Children have been able to demonstrate really good progress under continous assessment.
“The reason children are doing better than ever in recent years is because they are taught all year round.
“New changes mean GCSE students would not be assessed for a few years, not until the very end.
“It is an extrememly old fashioned approach, much like what the old O levels used to be. I find that children today work much harder than they did when I was a child. It is a shame because only some students will benefit.
“Others who could have been taught better will be at a great disadvantage.”
When announcing the changes exams regulator Ofqual said continuous assessment had been scrapped ‘to avoid the disruption to teaching and learning through repeated assessment’.
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