Have your say on coursework – soon, please!

This is from Julie Wilkinson, Classics lead practitioner (Specialist Schools and Academies trust)

I have been asked by Chris Maynard (the Principal Officer at QCA with responsibility for Classics) to respond on behalf of the classics teaching community to the latest ruminations from the DfES on the future of GCSE coursework.

The aim of the review is to address the following: – the need for a consistent approach to coursework in similar subjects – that it should test skills and attributes that cannot be tested by a terminal examination – concerns about fairness – how to reduce the cumulative burden of coursework across a range of subjects.

As you are doubtless aware, QCA has recently published a report highlighting some of the problems with coursework – the increasingly indiscriminate use of the internet, the growing commercialisation of ready-made projects, the talents of parents, the uncertainty amongst teachers as to how much help is allowed etc. The full report can be
read at www.qca.org.uk/2586_15523.html .

The crux of the argument for all Classics GCSE specifications is that, because coursework is optional, 'it cannot be the only way to assess that part of the subject, and therefore there is doubt that it is the most valid form of assessment' (Maynard's words).

So I would be really grateful if you could spare a few moments to let me have your thoughts on any or all of the following questions, making it clear whether you are referring to Latin, Greek or Class Civ:

  1. Does internal assessment have a distinctive purpose in Classics subjects that is not assessed by written exams?
  2. What would be the implications of its removal in terms of teaching and learning?
  3. In the forthcoming revision of GCSEs, would you like to see the addition of an Assessment Objective that was not subject-specific, addressing such skills as planning, evaluation and analysis? (NB The current AOs for Classics can be downloaded from the QCA website)

This is an opportunity for Classics teachers to have a say in assessment development so please consult colleagues (and students?) and (because QCA is operating to its customary stingy time frame) reply to me by March 6. This has to be the absolute deadline as I will be off work collating responses the day after before immediately responding to Chris.

Please feel free to add any other comments you may have about
coursework.

Alan Clague is also involved in the same consultation so it is
possible that you will be reached by both of us. Please reply to one
or other!

Thanks in anticipation of your support.

Julie Wilkinson
classics lead practitioner
(Specialist Schools and Academies trust)
juliek.wilkinson@virgin.net

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One Response

  1. I would be really interested to see exactly what they are proposing and why. Do you have a link to that? Does anyone? I have put up my reply to the CSCP request on my blog. Why can't they just leave education alone?

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