PLEASE NOTE THE CONSULTATION IS NOW CLOSED - THE BOARD'S FINAL DECISION IS OUTLINED IN A MEDIA RELEASE WHICH CAN BE DOWNLOADED FROM THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE
The Education Department has launched a public consultation on options for the future of qualifications offered to students in the Bailiwick's secondary schools.
Changes outside the Island are having a major impact on GCSE and A Level examinations. The Secretary of State for Education in England, Michael Gove, is introducing a new qualifications framework and the other Home Nations have decided to break away from the English system and introduce their own GCSE, AS and A Level qualifications. Scotland has a different range of qualifications for 14-19 year-olds known as Nationals, Highers and Advanced Highers.
The main changes in England include:
- GCSEs and A Levels will become linear courses with grades based predominantly on exams taken at the end of the course
- There will be a major reduction in coursework and other controlled assessment such as projects, presentations, practical experiments and performances
- The A*-G grading system for GCSEs will be replaced with a new grading system from 9 to 1 (with 9 being the highest)
- AS Levels will be decoupled from A Levels - this means A Level grades will be based on the exams taken at the end of the two year course.
Both Wales and Northern Ireland have decided to move away from the English system and will be maintaining their own GCSE, AS and A Level qualifications which will be similar to the qualifications offered now. Northern Ireland has stated that it will be doing this as an interim measure and is continuing to investigate a longer term plan with regards to its qualifications, curriculum and assessment framework.
The Isle of Man is about to go out to public consultation on options for its 14-19 qualifications and Jersey is currently planning on staying with its current Examination boards and is not proposing any major shift or public consultation at this time.
The Department has set out the options available to the Island in a comprehensive public consultation document. This follows on from a closed consultation of staff working in the education service.
There are 3 main options under consideration:
Option 1 - Adopting the new system of examinations for 14-19 year olds being introduced in England
Option 2 - Adopting the Scottish examination system for 14-19 year olds
Option 3 - Implementing an interim system whereby schools could use International GCSEs (legacy iGCSEs, still graded A*-G) or qualifications from Northern Ireland or Wales including GCSEs, AS and A Levels plus a range of vocational qualifications whilst taking time to further review and plan for the introduction of an alternative system. This could be the English or Scottish system.
In most cases, this would have the effect of, in the interim, a move to an alternative examination board rather than a more significant change.
Having carefully reviewed all the options, the Education Board favours an interim option whereby schools are able to choose GCSEs and AS/A Levels from Northern Ireland and Wales as well as opting for legacy iGCSEs (international GCSEs) which still provide elements of coursework and other controlled assessments as well as end of course examinations. The grading system for these courses remains the same; A*-G for GCSEs and A*-E for AS and A levels. Schools would still provide a range of vocational and applied qualifications. The IB Diploma would continue to be offered at the Grammar School Sixth Form Centre regardless of any other changes to qualifications.
The full Consultation Paper can be downloaded below and people are urged to read it before completing the online survey at www.surveymonkey.com/s/secexams by the end of Wednesday 30th April.
Appendix 4 provides the responses from a closed staff survey carried out early in 2014.
If you have any queries or questions about the consultation please email them firstname.lastname@example.org