Parents are asking themselves what difference the new ‘I-levels’ will make to their children.
After the English marking debacle last summer, the government wishes to dissociate itself from the Welsh and the Northern Irish governments which have rejected government exam changes.
Supposedly the new name will make sure English exams are not tainted by discredited GCSEs. Actually the Scots have intermediate exams. Surely if we have to be different from the provinces, we shouldn’t suggest to parents we are doing the same as the Scots!
The government says that GCSE is a discredited qualification – and they are right.
Having spent years saying standards are going down and exams are easy, they’ve done a good job of eroding parental confidence, suggesting that a GCSE isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.
To restore confidence the new qualification will be rigorous with a new grading system from 1 to 8. The new top grade 8 will be harder to get. Will the exams be different or just have a new name?
Are the grades different or just called something else?
Maybe the English Baccalaureate is being revived under another name.
However that’s speculation, as we know little about these proposed qualifications. I suspect that the DfE and Ofqual don’t know either and you can bet the exam boards, who caused this examination mess, know nothing.
What would be great for English education, is an examination system that encourages creativity and invention, and inspires teenagers to learn.
Meanwhile schools, parents and teenagers will be wondering what it means for them.