Archive | GCSE exams introduced ‘to give children a better deal’

GCSEs replaced CSE and O level exams in 1988. The latter two, according to a Times article of April 25, 1986:

…help to decide whether [children] become one of a small number set on a glittering path to university or end up with very little to show for their pains. The new GCSE…aims to change this. Although it will not enable more young people to go to university, it should give them more to show for their efforts.

Today, more than a quarter more pupils are achieving grades A to C at GCSE than in 1988.

A recent YouGov poll found that 50 per cent of people supported Education Secretary Michael Gove’s plans to revive O levels, with 32 per cent opposed. The Liberal Democrats have, however, reacted to the proposals with fury.

(Chronicler: Alexander Godfrey)

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Elitism is a side issue in Gove’s O-level exam plan | Hugo Rifkind

In a leader today, we give cautious welcome to Michael Gove’s planned reintroduction of O-levels.

The Education Secretary makes a decent case that exams which were thought elitist when 20 per cent of pupils sat them simply can’t be when 80 per cent do. All the same, as I mused on Twitter, I’m rather of the view that if new O-levels are distinct from old O-levels, then it’s probably a mistake to call them “O-levels”.

Still, elitism is a side issue. The crux of these plans is a move from competing exam boards to a single one, with the former – so the argument goes – having driven standards down.

Does this symbolise a move away from the traditional Tory contention that competition is always good? I suppose that would make quite a good GCSE economics question. Or rather, an O-level one.

Twitter: @hugorifkind

“Who will be the first Cabinet minister to proudly explain why his own children are not O-level material?” Read more

Times Opinion today | too much money, too little tax, German humour & Bletchley Park

Money money money

Is £40,000 a year enough to live the good life? Not for many of us, Philip Collins finds – even though Keynes thought we’d be earning this and working 25-hour weeks by now

Forty grand certainly isn’t enough for Jimmy Carr. But now he’s been outed and has apologised, other tax avoiders should come clean, The Times says

Could Google or Tesco fix our obsolete tax system? William Rees-Mogg says “yes”


Ahead of tonight’s Germany v Greece Euro 2012 clash, German journalist Clemens Wergin advises Greeks to be more like their football team: German-flavoured

Code breaker

Ben Macintyre on the genius of one of Bletchley Park’s finest, Alan Turing: “He cycled around in a gas mask, possibly on account of hay fever, and chained his mug to a radiator to prevent anyone else using it


Aung San Suu Kyi’s lawyer, Jared Genser, on freedom fighting for the prisoners of conscience

The return of O-levels: the Education Secretary’s big exams plan could score him an A…but there’s potential for an F, The Times says

Can you spell “diaphragm”? If not – CUL8R

(Times Opinion, Friday June 22, 2012)

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