NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED558720
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
GCSE and A Level Reform: Are the New Qualifications Returning a "Gold Standard" of Assessment? Election Factsheet
Burdett, Newman
National Foundation for Educational Research
This election factsheet highlights the following points: (1) While the GCSE pass rate has increased since its introduction, this doesn't tell us very much about how standards have changed. Evidence from international surveys suggests that education standards have remained stable. Stopping the use of modules and limiting resits is likely to reduce pass rates, but this is not the same as improving standards; (2) The changes to GCSE grading are likely to make it easier to differentiate between the very best students in the exams; (3) The focus on written examinations rather than practical exams, such as for science, is likely to improve reliability in results, but it is unknown how this will affect the teaching of these skills; and (4) The effects of all the reforms are difficult to predict in advance, and it is likely that different groups will be affected differently. GCSEs are being reformed with the intention that they will be more challenging so pupils are better prepared for further academic or vocational study, or for work. There will also be a new grading scale that uses the numbers 1 to 9 to identify levels of performance, with 9 being the top grade; a shift to assessment just at the end of the course and without a split between modules; and more use of exams rather than coursework. AS and A levels are going through similar reforms with the main change being that AS and A levels will be decoupled--meaning that AS results will no longer count towards an A level, as they do now.
National Foundation for Educational Research. The Mere, Upton Park, Slough, Berkshire, SL1 2DQ, UK. Tel: +44-1753-574123; Fax: +44-1753-637280; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Nuffield Foundation (England)
Authoring Institution: Full Fact (England); National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) (England)
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom