One board, one level of difficulty, one exam, no modules. Sounds okay. I wouldn’t have done as well under the same system, but I don’t care, because I was aware that the system I was sitting was bullshit of absolutely no value. I want qualifications that stand for something, that signify hard work and ability, and the current GCSEs just show that kids eventually pick up information if given enough shots at it.
It may also change the way students are educated. I yearn for the day when young people are taught knowledge for the sake of knowledge, because information is power, because learning is glorious and empowering and engaging, not simply to pass an exam. Students are taught to learn by rote and regurgitate information without properly comprehending or understanding the material, and that’s not an education - that’s learning what boxes to tick and what examiners wanna hear. Students need skills of analysis and critical thinking. They need, essentially, to think for themselves. Those are the tools we need to equip future generations with so they have the ability to create and critique rather than fill in boxes.
ACADEMIC TOUGHNESS! RIGOUR! LET’S BRUTALISE THE LITTLE BASTARDS! But let’s also introduce ALTERNATIVE qualifications for those who may not be so academically inclined. GCSEs have great breadth and variation, but this exam will only encompass English, maths, and science. What about those whose intelligence and talents lie elsewhere? Measuring a student’s merit by how well they deal with very limited and specific subjects isn’t a true measure of their ability. What if they’re more creative? More sporty? More musical? More dramatic?
Furthermore, are atmospheres going to change in schools? Certain beloved subjects act as both a respite and a buffer for students. After slogging through biology and physics and algebra and verbs sometimes a student just wants to do what they love - to paint, or play, or perform. They’re not going to be given these opportunities.
Additionally, these skills aren’t going to be taught to children at an early age. A student’s first proper taste of art, IT, media, sport’s science, etecetera, is going to be at A Level. How are they going to be able to choose subjects at A Level if they’ve never previously experienced them? How are schools going to know which students fit which subjects if they don’t know how those students would perform? What if a student struggles with science, maths, and English, but really excels elsewhere - they’re not going have the grades to represent their abilities, and accordingly won’t be afforded opportunities to further develop their interests. Hell, they won’t be able to identify their interests in the first place!
In conclusion, I think standards need to be kicked up the arse, I think exams need to be harder, I think qualifications need to mean something. But I think the limited subjects represent an archaic idea of what achievement should be, and what intelligence is.