GCSEs should be scrapped altogether

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Nihilisticb*tch
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#1
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#1
GCSEs are a waste of time and put unnecessary pressure on teens. They do more harm than good to the quality of our education and should be scrapped altogether. In this post I will explain why, I am open to debate however so feel free to reply.

1) They once served a purpose that is now obsolete - back when O levels were first invented, many young people finished school altogether at 16 so therefore they were necessary so that they had at least some qualification to show that they attended school and had a decent level of knowledge. However, nowadays pupils are required to stay in education until they are 18 so gcses are of no relevance. Yes they can be used to decide which a levels you do but really there is no need to use official qualifications for this, school test grades would suffice.

2) They take the soul out of learning - For the whole of year 10 and 11, my lessons were essentially a load of bullet points from the specification. Teachers will not bother adding any information other than what you "need" to know. Nowadays there's no such thing as learning things just because they're interesting. Pupils are taught to pass exams rather than to love of be inspired by a subject. For me, exams take all the fun out of learning subjects.

3) They prevent bright pupils from being pushed - There are plenty of students who are capable of learning A level content as early as year 10 but instead are forced to continue with basic gcse content rather than being pushed and challenged by harder content. Teachers see it as there being no point in teaching them a level stuff if it's not going to be on their exams.

4) They cause lower ability pupils to fall behind - Gcses add time constraints to education, lower ability pupils who need more time learning the basics are forced to learn harder content very quickly before their exams. This means that they never grasp the basics so end up worse off.

5) They allow top universities to unfairly discriminate - it is well known that Oxbridge as well as some other unis/courses use gcses when comparing applicants. However you could argue that discriminating by ones performance at age 16 is unfair and irrelevant, surely it should only matter what you are like now.

6) They put students at poor performing secondary schools at A disadvantage - There are many more sub standard secondary schools than there are colleges. Therefore pupils at poor secondary schools are at a large disadvantage whereas at A level, pupils are on a much more even playing field.

7) They put unnecessary pressure on teens - for the reasons explained above, gcses are unnecessary but cause huge amounts of stress and anxiety for teens. Essentially, they cause people to suffer needlessly. The whole ordeal almost seems like its designed specifically to be stressful and honestly it is not needed. Teens already have a lot off pressures that cause anxiety and many are not mature enough to cope with it, exams just add to this and create a generally unpleasant experience.

Sorry if some of this is badly worded but yeah I'm tired. Anyway if anyone has any counter arguments I would love to hear them. peace.
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Just-a-student78
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#2
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#2
Their pretty depressing, stressful tooo. Your future is based on them tho
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Anyauk
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#3
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#3
U didn't have to explain urself, I agreed with ur title.
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Luiz_Fro
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#4
I fully agree with 2 and 7. Lessons don't feel like lessons anymore when you reach gcse years
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username3444162
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Yeh well the Gove man disagrees
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hello_shawn
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#6
Instead of scrapping gcse's why not scrap the numerous university courses that have literally no employment value, or, scrap fees for the degrees that are useful but make them more difficult to get into
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Nihilisticb*tch
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#7
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#7
(Original post by hello_shawn)
Instead of scrapping gcse's why not scrap the numerous university courses that have literally no employment value, or, scrap fees for the degrees that are useful but make them more difficult to get into
We can do both. Those two things are kinda irrelevant but I still agree with them. People shouldn't have to pay to do degrees that are worthwhile to society and people shouldn't be persuaded to do degrees that are totally worthless. I think degrees that are in shortage such as medicine and teaching should have their fees lowered or abolished altogether and it should work in a system where degrees that are in demand are cheaper and those that aren't are more expensive.
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K.C.
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#8
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#8
(Original post by Nihilisticb*tch)
2) They take the soul out of learning - For the whole of year 10 and 11, my lessons were essentially a load of bullet points from the specification. Teachers will not bother adding any information other than what you "need" to know. Nowadays there's no such thing as learning things just because they're interesting. Pupils are taught to pass exams rather than to love of be inspired by a subject. For me, exams take all the fun out of learning subjects.
Yes, what you say is true but it is by no means ubiquitous. I feel that this relies heavily on the individual teachers that you have, because this experience was not everybody's experience. My teachers at GCSE would always extend our knowledge to make the lessons more relevant/interesting.
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Jpw1097
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#9
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#9
(Original post by Nihilisticb*tch)
GCSEs are a waste of time and put unnecessary pressure on teens. They do more harm than good to the quality of our education and should be scrapped altogether. In this post I will explain why, I am open to debate however so feel free to reply.

1) They once served a purpose that is now obsolete - back when O levels were first invented, many young people finished school altogether at 16 so therefore they were necessary so that they had at least some qualification to show that they attended school and had a decent level of knowledge. However, nowadays pupils are required to stay in education until they are 18 so gcses are of no relevance. Yes they can be used to decide which a levels you do but really there is no need to use official qualifications for this, school test grades would suffice.

2) They take the soul out of learning - For the whole of year 10 and 11, my lessons were essentially a load of bullet points from the specification. Teachers will not bother adding any information other than what you "need" to know. Nowadays there's no such thing as learning things just because they're interesting. Pupils are taught to pass exams rather than to love of be inspired by a subject. For me, exams take all the fun out of learning subjects.

3) They prevent bright pupils from being pushed - There are plenty of students who are capable of learning A level content as early as year 10 but instead are forced to continue with basic gcse content rather than being pushed and challenged by harder content. Teachers see it as there being no point in teaching them a level stuff if it's not going to be on their exams.

4) They cause lower ability pupils to fall behind - Gcses add time constraints to education, lower ability pupils who need more time learning the basics are forced to learn harder content very quickly before their exams. This means that they never grasp the basics so end up worse off.

5) They allow top universities to unfairly discriminate - it is well known that Oxbridge as well as some other unis/courses use gcses when comparing applicants. However you could argue that discriminating by ones performance at age 16 is unfair and irrelevant, surely it should only matter what you are like now.

6) They put students at poor performing secondary schools at A disadvantage - There are many more sub standard secondary schools than there are colleges. Therefore pupils at poor secondary schools are at a large disadvantage whereas at A level, pupils are on a much more even playing field.

7) They put unnecessary pressure on teens - for the reasons explained above, gcses are unnecessary but cause huge amounts of stress and anxiety for teens. Essentially, they cause people to suffer needlessly. The whole ordeal almost seems like its designed specifically to be stressful and honestly it is not needed. Teens already have a lot off pressures that cause anxiety and many are not mature enough to cope with it, exams just add to this and create a generally unpleasant experience.

Sorry if some of this is badly worded but yeah I'm tired. Anyway if anyone has any counter arguments I would love to hear them. peace.
While I agree to some extent that exams can take the fun out of learning, I don't really see any other way - exams are used to test pupils at all levels of study. Firstly, GCSEs are used by colleges/sixth forms for entry requirements. Yes, they can take the soul out of learning, GCSEs tests knowledge at a very basic level, however, there is nothing stopping you from learning A level content in your own time, that's what I did. Your teachers don't have to teach you everything, and GCSEs are a good time to become an independent learner, you won't be spoon-fed the answers at A level or university.

Again, I agree that it seems unfair for places like Oxbridge to use GCSEs so heavily but at the end of the day, there are lots of people who are worthy for a place at Oxbridge, but there simply aren't enough places. Lots of people applying to these places will have amazing A level results (or predicted), but there has to be a way to cut the numbers down.

As for people attending poor performing secondary schools being at a disadvantage, yes of course they are, but that would be the case regardless. Colleges have GCSE entry requirements and so those who attend poor performing secondary schools are less likely to do well enough to get into a better college.

As for putting unnecessary pressure on teens, what other pressures are teens under? Of course exams are always going to be stressful, but how will you cope at A level or university? There is always going to be stress and pressures, in fact, life is only going to get more stressful and you need to learn how to deal with it.

However, I must admit that I don't think the purpose of GCSEs is to learn (well, of course it is to some extent), but GCSEs are more a method to differentiate between those who are more academically capable and those who aren't - and I think they do this reasonably well.
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username3989988
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#10
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#10
(Original post by Nihilisticb*tch)
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Another thing - GCSEs have completely changed my mentality. When I've been teaching myself A-Level content, I am no longer curious to understand topics because I've been taught just to memorize everything. I no longer have enough curiousity to research topics I find interesting because I believe it is more important for me to just understand what is in the specification. Yet a A-Level curiousity and extra research is needed to get the top grades, but GCSEs have taught me the opposite.
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Nihilisticb*tch
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#11
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(Original post by Jpw1097)
While I agree to some extent that exams can take the fun out of learning, I don't really see any other way - exams are used to test pupils at all levels of study. Firstly, GCSEs are used by colleges/sixth forms for entry requirements. Yes, they can take the soul out of learning, GCSEs tests knowledge at a very basic level, however, there is nothing stopping you from learning A level content in your own time, that's what I did. Your teachers don't have to teach you everything, and GCSEs are a good time to become an independent learner, you won't be spoon-fed the answers at A level or university.

Again, I agree that it seems unfair for places like Oxbridge to use GCSEs so heavily but at the end of the day, there are lots of people who are worthy for a place at Oxbridge, but there simply aren't enough places. Lots of people applying to these places will have amazing A level results (or predicted), but there has to be a way to cut the numbers down.

As for people attending poor performing secondary schools being at a disadvantage, yes of course they are, but that would be the case regardless. Colleges have GCSE entry requirements and so those who attend poor performing secondary schools are less likely to do well enough to get into a better college.

As for putting unnecessary pressure on teens, what other pressures are teens under? Of course exams are always going to be stressful, but how will you cope at A level or university? There is always going to be stress and pressures, in fact, life is only going to get more stressful and you need to learn how to deal with it.

However, I must admit that I don't think the purpose of GCSEs is to learn (well, of course it is to some extent), but GCSEs are more a method to differentiate between those who are more academically capable and those who aren't - and I think they do this reasonably well.
Okay i will answers to each of your arguments below :

Yes that is true but that is no substitute to being taught the information by a teacher. I did that as well but found that I didn't have time for it as it was a "waste" of time when I could be learning gcse stuff.

Again that is true but Oxbridge has other ways of deciding between pupils such as interviews and entrance exams. There is no need to use gcses, instead of using gcses they should be more strict with performance in other aspects of the application.

That is exactly my point, pupils at poor performing secondary schools will go to poor performing colleges because they performed poorly in gcses which is unfair. However if they just went on tests taken at school and school report that would be much fairer. Besides, as I poorly worded in my original post, there are very few terrible colleges/sixth forms. Most colleges are at least decent whereas a lot of high schools are absolutely terrible. Going to a "bad" college puts you at less of a disadvantage compared with going to a bad high school.

Teens are under lots of pressure. Mental health problems are prevalent in teens and many teens have to deal with bullying, low self esteem and friendship problems. These problems aren't anywhere near as bad as the stresses that adults experience but teens are less equipped to deal with them. GCSEs are just another unnecessary stress added to the list.

I disagree with that entirely. GCSEs are a good measure of ability if you use them to compare people in the exact same situations. However this is not the case. Many pupils go to underperforming secondary schools and many go to high performing private schools and these pupils are pitted against each other in exams. It is unfair. Not to mention other factors in people's life that affect gcse performance.
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DarthRoar
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GCSEs are definitely less useful today than they were before, but they still have important uses.

It would be a bad idea to try and do your A-Level exams without having done any proper exams beforehand. Mocks are inaccurate and don't represent what real exams are like, and many would be absolutely destroyed by the reality of A-Level exams.

(Original post by Nihilisticb*tch)
Again that is true but Oxbridge has other ways of deciding between pupils such as interviews and entrance exams. There is no need to use gcses, instead of using gcses they should be more strict with performance in other aspects of the application.
Why shouldn't they use GCSEs. Two sets of exams are a better report than one, and it shows whether the student can work hard over several years as opposed to only a few.

pupils at poor performing secondary schools will go to poor performing colleges because they performed poorly in gcses which is unfair. However if they just went on tests taken at school and school report that would be much fairer.
Well of course, if you go to a bad school you are likely to get worse grades. Contextual offers exist for this very reason!

You want sixth forms to take students depending on in-school tests? That's a dreadful idea, similar to the American system. Without standardization, schools can set what they want and grade what they want, free to discriminate against students they don't like and free to rig the system in their favour.

Besides, as I poorly worded in my original post, there are very few terrible colleges/sixth forms. Most colleges are at least decent whereas a lot of high schools are absolutely terrible. Going to a "bad" college puts you at less of a disadvantage compared with going to a bad high school.
This is opinion. It's like me saying potatoes are actually oranges. Until you give some evidence for this, it's going to be ignored.

Teens are under lots of pressure. Mental health problems are prevalent in teens and many teens have to deal with bullying, low self esteem and friendship problems. These problems aren't anywhere near as bad as the stresses that adults experience but teens are less equipped to deal with them. GCSEs are just another unnecessary stress added to the list.
They're not unnecessary. Exams have been around since education has begun, GCSEs have existed for decades! Obviously the GCSEs are not causing the increased level of stress because they have been a constant, unchanging factor.

GCSEs are a good measure of ability if you use them to compare people in the exact same situations. However this is not the case. Many pupils go to underperforming secondary schools and many go to high performing private schools and these pupils are pitted against each other in exams
Contextual offers exist for a reason. What will you say next, that A-Levels are not fair on all students? Maybe everyone should do school-set A-Levels and all get 100% whilst learning nothing. Yay for education communism.
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3pointonefour
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I don't really see anything wrong with GCSEs except that it was bloody boring at times

GCSEs aren't necessarily a measure of ability (so much) - they're a measure of how well people can take stress and pressure and perform on the day, when they're asked to - which is whats needed in most jobs nowadays.

Pupils can learn A-level content independently if they wanted to - there's plenty of resources due to the power of the internet.

Even Oxbridge doesnt really care too much for GCSE results unless you're applying for something like medicine. Usually if you performed staggeringly well in A-levels, the interview and the entrance exams that would be enough to get accepted.

Teachers are only paid to teach you what's necessary - it's always been up to the student to research more about stuff they enjoy since that's what will differentiate them from other students - the independence and thirst for knowledge.

Poor performing secondary schools will have their work cut out for them though, but that will always be there regardless of whether GCSEs exist or not - the alternative would be internal exams which for obvious reasons aren't helpful at all.
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blueamaraxx
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No theyre not theyre to try to get people to a certain level of education
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Sinnoh
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Sounds like you had s**t teachers. If you go to a badly-performing school that's taken into account when you apply to uni as well.
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omarathon
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(Original post by Just-a-student78)
Your future is based on them tho
not true, A-levels are more about that. They just help you get into a good college, but getting good A-levels doesn't require a good college as you can do it yourself. Unless you're dropping out of school before college I doubt they'll impact your life unless you did badly in maths and english or apply to Oxbridge.
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MezmorisedPotato
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I think GCSE's are still necessary and I agree with the points mentioned by the other posters on the thread.

However, a point I like to add is competition. By removing GCSE's you get rid of another factor to compare between when choosing people for offers and interviews. Considering most colleges don't do AS levels the only resource they have is GCSE's. And tests standards vary across every school so results for them are probably not representative of every school. Therefore, there is a potential of having entrance exams for more courses to differentiate between candidates and trust me, they will be worse than GCSE's. They may altogether have to reject more people than usual because of limited data.

So by removing GCSE's you create a domino effect essentially which could more greatly affect career options for people in the future. I know they sound bad now but I think experience of proper exams is needed to in some degree prepare you for A-Levels and for higher education chances. Imagine not having minimum requirements anymore, anybody could apply to every course which would be chaotic. How would colleges you go to know whether you have the credentials to study particular A level courses?
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username1230881
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As others have said, a major problem would be university admissions considering that AS levels are more or less dead. Students would apply to university with only the results of tests taken within school, which can't necessarily be compared; it can't even be certain whether they were all taken under exam conditions. GCSEs - and the teaching of them - are imperfect but they still play an important role, and you really wouldn't want the first proper exams you sit, ever, to be your final A level exams in Year 13.

For what it's worth, things are better (or worse, depending on your viewpoint) compared to a few years ago: I sat my first GCSE exam in March of Year 9, and did more in Years 9, 10 and 11. Now, most students won't sit exams that lead to qualifications until they're 16. It inevitably leads to more exams in Year 11, but it could be argued that at least the pressure doesn't fully begin until students are older now.
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username3989988
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(Original post by Volibear)
How do you explain the difference between you and those that managed to maintain the ability to be curious?
Idk, I just didn't want to 'waste' my time on research when I should be revising and I'm not struggling to get out of that habit. My point is, I personally believe the current GCSE system doesn't encourage curiousity unlike the A Level course (or so I have heard)
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Jpw1097
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(Original post by Nihilisticb*tch)
Okay i will answers to each of your arguments below :

Yes that is true but that is no substitute to being taught the information by a teacher. I did that as well but found that I didn't have time for it as it was a "waste" of time when I could be learning gcse stuff.

Again that is true but Oxbridge has other ways of deciding between pupils such as interviews and entrance exams. There is no need to use gcses, instead of using gcses they should be more strict with performance in other aspects of the application.

That is exactly my point, pupils at poor performing secondary schools will go to poor performing colleges because they performed poorly in gcses which is unfair. However if they just went on tests taken at school and school report that would be much fairer. Besides, as I poorly worded in my original post, there are very few terrible colleges/sixth forms. Most colleges are at least decent whereas a lot of high schools are absolutely terrible. Going to a "bad" college puts you at less of a disadvantage compared with going to a bad high school.

Teens are under lots of pressure. Mental health problems are prevalent in teens and many teens have to deal with bullying, low self esteem and friendship problems. These problems aren't anywhere near as bad as the stresses that adults experience but teens are less equipped to deal with them. GCSEs are just another unnecessary stress added to the list.

I disagree with that entirely. GCSEs are a good measure of ability if you use them to compare people in the exact same situations. However this is not the case. Many pupils go to underperforming secondary schools and many go to high performing private schools and these pupils are pitted against each other in exams. It is unfair. Not to mention other factors in people's life that affect gcse performance.
I disagree, I feel that teachers should facilitate learning but certainly should not be the primary source of information. When I was in school, majority of the work I learned myself.

As for relying on tests taken in schools, these exams/tests are not standardised and so would not be a fair comparison. Also, even if you removed GCSEs and replaced them with school tests, and the results of these tests determined which colleges you could go to, would they not essentially be the same as GCSEs, and still cause the same stress which GCSEs caused?

Also, many universities recognise that schools/colleges are not the same, and those that attend underachieving schools receive lower entry requirements. I went to a poor school/college, and in many ways I'm glad, it taught me to be an independent learner and this has helped me to do very well.
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