The new GCSEs: pitfalls and possibilities


Tina Isaacs

Ofqual today announced the design details for new GCSEs in English and mathematics for first teaching in 2015. New GCSEs in other core subjects will first be taught in 2016, so will doubtless follow the same patterns. The fate of non-core GCSEs is currently up for grabs. To complement the announcement, the DfE separately confirmed the subject content.

Nothing in the announcement was particularly surprising – all of the ideas had been trailed by Ofqual and the DfE. Those involved in making the changes will be well aware of the potential pitfalls – some of which I outline below – but decided that the new system would be an improvement over the old, which has lately had losses in public confidence.

A new grading scale of 1 – 9. This is meant to avoid confusion between the old standards and the new, higher ones that current…

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