Gove’s EBacc goes back to reciting facts

In a letter to the Independent, 18/09/12, HMC's Vice Chairman, Kenneth Durham warns of crisis in assessment that goes way beyond current concerns about English GCSE.

"There is a good deal to commend Michael Gove's plans for the reform of 16-plus examinations. Those of us who have deserted domestic GCSE and chosen, instead, to enter students for the international variant cannot doubt the attraction of greater rigour and challenge at this level."

"However, he must ensure that the foundations of his proposed system are as rigorous as the content. There is a crisis in the systems for assessment that goes way beyond current concerns about English GCSE, and that will not be set right simply by franchising subjects to exam boards. Marking is routinely unreliable. Wide variations in standards and in grade allocations appear to be endemic. Mark schemes are ill-informed and limiting. The procedure for appeals is time-consuming, partial and opaque."

"If Mr Gove's reforms are to be effective, he must undertake a thorough review of this essential element of the examinations industry. Without it, the English Baccalaureate will quickly become as discredited and devalued as its predecessors."

Click here to read the letter © The Independent