THE new-style GCSE exams in England are the most difficult since the end of O-levels in the 1980s reports the BBC.
The first results of revised GCSEs in English and maths will be published this week, with a grading system using numbers from 9 to 1.
Results this week will mark the beginning the switchover to a more difficult form of GCSE
The new-style exams, beginning with English and maths, will no longer use coursework or modules, but will be graded on final exams.
Experts have predicted that schools that had relied on coursework to boost results could “suffer a fall in grades this year”.
It was argues that coursework was an “unreliable measure” of ability, “much of it had little value” and it could too easily be “influenced” by teachers or parents.
There will also be changes to the syllabuses to make them more demanding.
While much of the attention will be on the new grading system, it is important not to miss the scale of change for the qualification.
It is alleged that they contain questions of a level of difficulty that we have not seen since the abolition of O-levels in 1987.
Head teachers’ leader Geoff Barton said that schools would be concerned about “volatility” in the results of individual schools, below the surface of national results.
Mr Barton, head of the ASCL head-teachers’ union, said there should be caution about interpreting and comparing the results of such a different form of GCSE.
Teachers and pupils would have to adjust to a different style of qualification, he said, and he warned against people “springing to judgement” over unanticipated results.