What if… we got rid of GCSEs?

What if…we got rid of GCSEs? Text saying hashtag IOE debates in association with tes
Speakers: Tim Oates CBE, Director of Assessment Research and Development
Date: 29 Apr 2021 Venue: Online
Time: 17:45 - 18:45
Type: Online conference Fee: Free of charge

"What if…?" is a series of public debates aimed at being radical and inspiring ideas for alternative education futures. The series curated and run by the Institute of Education at University College London has established itself as a popular and informative source of debate on issues in education. The next debate is called "What if we...got rid of GCSEs?" and will be held on 29 April 2021.

The IOE has set out the debate as:

"The General Certificate of Secondary Education, or GCSE, has been in the firing line for some time. These exams, taken at age 15 to 16, have been a lightning rod for accusations of declining standards and grade inflation in our schools system, and successive governments have variously attempted to shore up their currency and reduce their sway over the secondary school curriculum.  Ever since the ‘education participation age’ in the England was raised to 18, from 2015, the GCSE has also been called into question in and of itself, as a now unnecessary staging post.  And now, as with so many areas of life, the Covid-19 pandemic has had its own impact on the matter, with the ‘exams crisis’ and wider disruption to pupils’ learning from 2020 renewing the debate about whether exams at age 16 still serve any useful purpose. Is the GCSE system intrinsically flawed, or simply a victim of the high-stakes accountability system in which it sits?  If it really has no benefits to offer, what could its demise offer to young people’s education?  Would removing GCSEs make much difference in the absence of other changes, including to assessment at age 18?".

The one-hour panel session will hear from four speakers followed by a panel discussion with questions from the audience. The online event will be chaired by Mary Richardson, Associate Professor of Educational Assessment at the Institute of Education and will be streamed live and available as a recording afterwards. Joining them on the panel with be Cambridge Assessment's Director of Assessment Research and Development Tim Oates CBE. Over recent months Tim has spoken at various events about our outline principles for the future of education and how these principles are intrinsically linked when looking at education system reform.

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