GCSEs. The main event. The biggest milestone for 15–16-year-olds across the UK. I think they are problematic. I think the exams are not an accurate representation of students’ hard work and skills.
Firstly, too much rests upon one set of exams. Your performance in these exams is meant to represent your hard work throughout the year and your knowledge. However, I believe this is not accurate. Sometimes exams can go well and other times they can go horribly. Some students may not be able to deal with the stress or may burn themselves out before the day of the exam. Lack of sleep, the type of breakfast you eat, and friendship issues are all examples of factors that may impact a student’s performance. A possible solution for this is to have continuous assessments like in the US or Canada. This way, it is an accumulation of all the hard work throughout the year and students do not have to worry about one set of exams that determine their futures.
Another flaw with this system is that closed book or sit down exams do not suit every learner. One may believe GCSEs are simply a memory test, which is not a true assessment of learning. Types of learners vary from kinesthetic to auditory and with so many different types of learners, standardized tests are not a fair representation of learning. Perhaps, the final grade a student receives is based on classwork, presentations, projects, etc. to provide a varied way of learning and testing.
The current situation with the cancellation of GCSEs forces people to rethink the examination process. This is a time to begin to change the entire examination system. A new system could greatly benefit students’ mental health and attitudes toward education. Learning should not be building up to one moment that defines your worth. Learning should be continuous. We need to change the GCSEs.