For the first time in 24 years, GCSE results awarded A*-C grade has dropped to 69.4% compared to the higher average in 2011 of 69.8%. Key Consultancy London debates the reasons for this and if there are still hopes for so bright future.
GCSE’s first replaced O Levels 24 years ago in 1988, since then, grades have continuously risen until now, some blame ‘harsh marking systems’, while others blame the teachers and schools, or could it be that Britain’s teens are just dumbing down? “When I took my GCSE’s, the pressure was on, and it felt like they were the most important exams of my life” says Emma from Key Consultancy in London, “Now it seems that teenagers across the UK have the opinion that GCSE’s don’t mean anything, and that the focus needs to be on A levels that they will take at 17 and 18 years of age” But is this true? When taking your GCSE’s, the results determine the college or 6 Form that you qualify to attend in year 12, but if your grades do not meet the criteria, there are other places to study your A levels, and so maybe GCSE students are right to not put in 100% in their GCSE year, as they feel it won’t, really benefit them.
Controversial ideas oppose that opinion, saying that the GCSE students of 2012 worked just as hard as anyone else, but exams were marked ‘too harshly’ compared to previous years, particularly in GCSE English, which had the largest decrease from 65.4% pupils gaining at least one C grade in 2011, to just 63.9% this year. “For the first time, new style exams were sat, but it has been assured that they are comparable to those sat in previous years to this” said Peter of Key Consultancy in London. With the exam boards assuring that nothing in the marking and difficulty of exams this year, what caused the decrease in results?
Why didn’t pupils achieve higher grades this year than 2011? Could students just be getting lazy? The world of education has rapidly developed over the last 10 years, from reading books and writing essays by hand, to now having everything online at the click of a button, along with hundreds of distractions such as online games, social networking sites and online movies. “Many students, even in my day, admitted to not revising until just days before their exams, and to cram information in quickly, rather than revising from books they will use online revision sites instead” stated Emma of Key Consultancy in London.
With technology getting faster by the minute, and exams being taken less seriously than ever before, is the next generation going in a downward spiral of lower grades? Or are they simply just reserving their effort for later examinations which in their minds, really matter.