The problem with our education system (UK)

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Nihilisticb*tch
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Honestly, I think our education system is incredibly flawed and needs a complete change in structure. My main issue is with GCSE and A levels and also with exams in general.

First off, the way that the system is structured is so flawed. You do GCSEs over 2 years at high school and learn basic content that is not even the slightest bit challenging for a lot of higher level students but since you need to pass the exams, there is no point in schools teaching brighter pupils any harder work. Then, you do A levels for 2 years except that A levels are massively more in-depth and really need more time to be studied for. Because we are forced to do basic work at gcse, there is subsequently a massive jump and enormous workload when you go to A level since you have to become all of a sudden prepared for university.

Now let's look at it from the perspective of a lower ability student - GCSEs are used as a way of showing to employers that you are literate, numerate and have a basic knowledge of the world. However, GCSEs are too hard to serve this purpose. Failing your maths or English gcse does not mean that you are illiterate or not numerate.

My proposed solution is this : more tiering of exams. GCSEs need to be split up into Advanced, Medium, and foundation. Students who are particularly talented in a subject area can do advanced gcses which will be more challenging and contain some A level content. Average students will do Medium GCSEs which are the same difficulty as gcses are currently. Lower ability students could do foundation gcses as these would allow them to demonstrate basic knowledge and reasoning skills. The average student would do some advanced subject, some medium and the odd foundation. The idea of this is to 1) bridge the gap between gcse and a level 2) allow fewer students to come out of high school with not qualifications 3) challenge higher ability students
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username1221160
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(Original post by Nihilisticb*tch)
Then, you do A levels for 2 years except that A levels are massively more in-depth and really need more time to be studied for. Because we are forced to do basic work at gcse, there is subsequently a massive jump and enormous workload when you go to A level since you have to become all of a sudden prepared for university.
Given that 78.4% of A levels are graded A*-C, it is difficult to argue that there is a massive jump (in difficulty?) and workload. The majority of students are managing just fine.

Now let's look at it from the perspective of a lower ability student - GCSEs are used as a way of showing to employers that you are literate, numerate and have a basic knowledge of the world. However, GCSEs are too hard to serve this purpose. Failing your maths or English gcse does not mean that you are illiterate or not numerate.

My proposed solution is this : more tiering of exams. GCSEs need to be split up into Advanced, Medium, and foundation. Students who are particularly talented in a subject area can do advanced gcses which will be more challenging and contain some A level content. Average students will do Medium GCSEs which are the same difficulty as gcses are currently. Lower ability students could do foundation gcses as these would allow them to demonstrate basic knowledge and reasoning skills. The average student would do some advanced subject, some medium and the odd foundation. The idea of this is to 1) bridge the gap between gcse and a level 2) allow fewer students to come out of high school with not qualifications 3) challenge higher ability students
If you are unable to obtain a C or above in English and Maths, you will likely struggle in the adult world and find opportunities limited. We should be focusing on improving the ability of such students rather than giving them dumbed down exams.
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Bio 7
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Maybe England could adopt the Scottish system of Nat 4/5's, Highers and Advanced Highers. The English system seems so much more complicated.
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Nihilisticb*tch
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(Original post by Sulfolobus)
If you are unable to obtain a C or above in English and Maths, you will likely struggle in the adult world and find opportunities limited. We should be focusing on improving the ability of such students rather than giving them dumbed down exams.
Yes students do fine because the grades are given in comparison to each other. What percentage get a certain grade is not an accurate way of measuring whether students are doing "fine" or not. They could set the grade boundaries really low and yes everyone would do well but would that mean that the students had retained and fully understood that knowledge? no. Every year universities complain about students being ill prepared for university and the response has been to make A levels harder but that really isn't the issue in my opinion. The issue is in the fact that students are taught really basic stuff for so long and they're all of a sudden expected to understand much harder content. The GCSEs are so easy content- wisw that most of the marks hinge on proper exam technique. The student who gets a 9 is not the student that understands the topic the most but rather is the student who has the best exam technique - that is the difference between a 7 and a 9 in my opinion.

I disagree that not getting a C means you'll struggle with life. If you look at any gcse Maths paper you will see that only about 10% of the questions are based on practical mathematical skills. A much greater proportion are based on algebra, trigonometry and probability- skills that are not at all essential in most skills based job. A maths paper based around practical skills would benefit lower ability students as they need not waste so much time on algebra and trigonometry rather than on understanding the basics that they would need in the real world. If you're going to be a scaffolder, why do you need to know about algebra? If you're going to be a bricklayer, why do you need to know about trigonometry? You're saying that we should focus on improving their ability but you must understand that this is impossible if they don't have the basic skills. Basic skills should be prioritised as these are more likely be useful whereas brighter students - who may want to study maths or science later on - can be pushed onto harder topics. The longer students learn harder topics for, the better the understanding they will have and the more they will be prepared for university
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