So the GCSE English Language exam has been and gone for another year. A wet and nondescript June morning welcomed the annual parade of stress, tiredness and a quiver of anxiety. The students were finding it difficult too.
With the exam finished the relief was palpable. Students announced their successes and failures. A long and hard haul was complete for us all. Time for tired celebrations.
All English teachers surely scoured the questions and made their judgements on the highlighter daubed reading material. It is a flawed exam and this year was little better than what has come before, but at the least it was the same for all. Yes, hardly resounding praise!
Now it is all about the students and their results in August. With the Speaking and Listening removal in the rear view and the November goalpost shift and other such changes erased from the collective memory for now, my only request is that every student gets a fair crack at a grade they deserve. No more, no less.
I hope that we don’t experience another summer where grade fiascos overshadow the efforts of our students and English teachers too. I hope we have no gaming of summer grade boundaries to ‘right’ November results. English teachers, parents and students are all tired of being foisted into the heart of a broken game and sterile political points scoring. I am tired of the seeming battle that attends GCSEs, particularly English and Maths of course, that overshadows all else.
Fairness. An even shot. That is all English teachers want for our students this year. It isn’t too much to ask. Our students deserve it for all the stress they are mired in throughout their GCSEs and the effort they commit.
In a mood of cautious optimism I look forward to August. May our students get what they deserve: no more, no less. May English teachers, slumped on the settee in relief, get what they deserve.
Let us take some time to celebrate our collective efforts. We deserve it.
4 thoughts on “They Think It’s All Over…”
Thank you! I couldn’t agree more!
Thanks, Alex. I think I’ve said before that the most satisfying course I ever taught was the NEAB joint English/English Lit dual certification course when I was Head of English in the 1990s. It was 100% teacher assessed, and I know every student in my school got the grade they deserved – no surprises or shocks on results day in August.
I served on the Review Panel so spent a week in Manchester each July with many other practising teachers moderating samples from all centres.
I’m pleased I had a (brief) glimpse of how it could be if the government trusted teachers.
That sounds fantastic! Wow – feels like a dream away though.
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