I do not subscribe to the view that you should not criticize something unless you have a solution or better idea. I think that is a ridiculous notion that is often used to shut down discussion of difficult issues. That being said, having said that the current exams are not fit for purpose:
- here- https://mylifeasacynicalteacher.wordpress.com/2013/06/02/what-are-exams-for-are-they-fit-for-purpose-ks5/
- here- https://mylifeasacynicalteacher.wordpress.com/2013/06/01/what-are-exams-for-are-they-fit-for-purpose-ks4/
- here- https://mylifeasacynicalteacher.wordpress.com/2013/06/01/what-are-exams-for-are-they-fit-for-purpose-ks3/
- here- https://mylifeasacynicalteacher.wordpress.com/2013/06/01/what-are-exams-for-are-they-fit-for-purpose-ks2/
- here- https://mylifeasacynicalteacher.wordpress.com/2013/06/01/what-are-exams-for-are-they-fit-for-purpose-ks1/
I did feel I should give some thought to what I would replace them with…
I would specify content for each subject in each year from reception to year 13.
I would then produce an end of year test for each year group 1-13 and expect schools to use them as their end of year tests. 10% of each test would be on material from earlier years, 70% of each test would be on material from the current year and 20% would be on material from the year above.
In each primary school the highest year group in the school would be externally examined. All other year groups would have their exams marked by the teacher and the results reported to the DoE.
In secondary schools year 11 and 13 exams would be marked externally and all other exams would be marked by the teachers.
The grade boundaries would be the same every year for all year groups from 1-13.
A*-90%, A-80%, B-70% and so on.
The marks used to generate the grade would be as follows:
- Year 1- The percentage from the end of year 1 test.
- Year 2- The average of the year 1 and year 2 tests. Schools would be required to keep year 1 papers and send in a sample for moderation if year 1 and year 2 results were too different
- Year 3- The percentage from the end of year 3 test.
- Year 4- The average of the year 3 and 4 tests.
- Year 5- The average of the year 3,4 and 5 tests.
- Year 6- The average of the year 3,4,5 and 6 tests. Schools would be required to keep all year 5 papers and send in a sample for moderation if the year 5 and 6 results are too different. If year 3 and 4 results are too different from year 5 and 6 ones then only year 5 and 6 results would count if year 5 results are accepted by moderators. If the year 5 results are not accepted by the moderators then only the year 6 results would count.
- Year 7- The percentage from the end of year 7 test
- Year 8- The average of the year 7 and 8 tests
- Year 9- The average of the year 7,8 and 9 tests
- Year 10- At this point I would separate Maths into two GCSEs. GCSE numeracy would stand alone and graded based on the percentage at the end of year 10. GCSE Maths would be graded based on the average from the year 7-10 tests.
- Year 11- GCSE numeracy would be graded based on the average of year 10 and 11 tests. Schools would be required to keep all year 10 tests and send in a sample for moderation if the year 10 and 11 results are too different. GCSE Maths would be graded based on the average of year 7-11 tests. Schools would be required to keep all year 10 tests and send in a sample for moderation if the year 10 and 11 results are too different. The entire GCSE would be based on year 10 and 11 results if the year 10 results are accepted by the moderators and year 11 results only if they’re not.
- Year 12- Besides scrapping retakes, no significant changes
- Year 13- Besides scrapping retakes, no significant changes
This system would probably create as many new problems as it solves but I think it would be more coherent and comprehensible.
Obviously if a pupil does not study a subject for an entire key stage then their grade would be generated from the existing data.
There would be a lot of details that would need ironing out. For example:
- Would Humanities in KS3 count towards History or Geography in KS4?
- What about Science in KS3 counting towards Physics, Chemistry and Biology in KS4?
- Which subjects would be formally examined in primary school?
- If pupils drop a subject do they get certificates for the grade they were on whey dropped the subject with what year they dropped it in?
- Probably many more
What do you think?