STUDENTS will be able to get a GCSE in French, German or Spanish without being able to speak the language.
Usually the oral part of the exam is 25 per cent of the overall grade, but this will be axed under plans to slim down courses because youngsters have fallen behind due to the Covid-19 lockdown.
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Instead of having to prove to an examiner they can talk the language they will instead receive a “teacher endorsement”, reports the Daily Telegraph.
In its consultation document, Ofqual, the exam watchdog said: “We have heard from teachers that the recording takes time to arrange and manage.”
But Dr Tony Breslin, a former chief examiner, said that removing orals from language exams was “like removing numbers from maths” and could affect the reputation of the qualification.
He told the Telegraph: “It feels a bit slash and burn.”
Dr Breslin, a former chief examiner for GCSEs and a chairman of examiners for A-levels, said he was concerned that reducing the course would “affect the integrity of the qualification as a whole”.
In other changes to next year’s GCSE exams, science experiments will be scrapped and geography field trips cancelled.
Chunks of the history course will be cut out.
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Alan Sked, emeritus professor of history at the London School of Economics and Political Science, told the paper: “Once it’s gone, it’s gone and you can’t make it up again; the children won’t get the opportunity to catch up on those parts of history.”
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “The range of measures proposed by Ofqual, including the possible short delay to the exam timetable and subject-specific changes to reduce pressure on teaching time, will further ensure those young people taking exams next year have the same opportunities to progress as the students before them.”
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