Someone “high-up” in the British Political EnemyClass has suggested that the State monkeys yet further with end-of-school qualifications, to play to the different skills of boys and girls. This is the wrong solution addressing the wrong problem. The problem is that there is nothing left worth learning in British State GCSE exams. This ought to be addressed first.
As the Irishman said, on being asked the way to somewhere: “If I were you,
I wouldn’t be starting from here!” The problems with GCSEs are these:-
(1) the ones that really matter (Maths, English, Science, History, Geography,
Latin) have been deliberately stripped of real content, partly to make them
inclusive and partly to deliberately de-educate more than two succeeding
Generations of English people especially males in particular.
(2) The droids which run exam boards, “Local Education Authorities”,
teachers’ “Trade Unions” and also whatever the Ministry of Education
is currently called, are GramscoFabiaNazis. They know and believe and wish,
with all their hearts, that our culture (here) and our historiography must die,
and plan to ensure it. They can’t logistically round up 60 million people at
gunpoint into cattle trucks bound for…(…where would they put us all!) so
they do the next best thing. (For example: for his GCSE “Religious Education”
(full course, higher) my boy ought to have watched “East Enders”,
whatever that is.) These mountebanks got to where they are on purpose, to do
exactly what they have done. Our backs were turned at the time, facing the
homologous military threat by their real masters (it pretended to cave in in
1989, and so the strategy was brilliantly clever. Never, ever underestimate
(3) The syllabuses of these have been captured the discourse-owners of the above GramscoFabiaNazi ideology. GCSE “Biology” module 1, is all about alcohol abuse, dangers of smoking, misuse of drugs, and a woman’s mentrual cycle coupled with “fertillity control”. Clearly designed to impress boys. Nothing about comdoms, but then they were forced to learn that in primary school. In maths, “Bhavneeta conducts a survey about how her friends travel to school. She finds that 98% travel by bus or bicycle. What fraction travel by other means?”
(4) Other distractions, such as “Media studies” and “PE”, fill time which could be used to teach proper science, or read several Shakespeare plays in full, part for part, over a week or two for each one. Then they could act it. “Food tech” is all about risk-assessing the preparation of a “healthy lunch” for a wheelchair-bound vegetarian, using “local ingredients” and no salt or sugar – does that mean you only use what’s in the pantry then?
(5) The “mark schemes” are totally prescriptive. You may not even describe something correctly but in different words from the MS.
(6) The Government adjusts the grade-boundaries (usually down each year, trust me, I mark stuff) to be able to trumpet that “the better-than-ever results reflect the efforts of our pupils and teachers, harder-working and more successful than ever before!”
None of that could be true unless the papers were getting really harder, really longer, and containing more content, than ever before. Which they are not.
The whole system needs to go, and we need to start again. With the papers from 1950 which have been considerable lengthened to contain the next 60 years of real added knowledge, to test. About 1% of all takers will pass at all, but that’s how we will learn what the real papers ought to look like: those who fail will just have to step back and learn more things.
You could get out a lot pf TV programs about thermodynamics, transition metal chemistry, and subnuclear particles, in the daily Eastenders slot.
(5) You’d be shocked at the “poetry clusters” in the English syllabus.