Gove vows to beef up exam standards
Exams have become easier and the testing system is now "discredited", the Education Secretary has said.
Michael Gove believes exam boards need to be more rigorous when setting GCSEs and A Levels and the qualifications must prepare students for further education.
Speaking to the Times, he also re-affirmed his vision to create more academies and improve poor schools.
"By 2015 I want us to be on an irreversible trend to get more good teachers into teaching, more schools enjoying autonomy and all underperforming schools being taken over," he said. "I want to refocus our curriculum to get rid of unnecessary extras and change our discredited exam system."
This week he said the 200 worst-performing primary schools in England are to be transformed into academies. Warning the English education system was failing to keep up with its international rivals, he said the Government needed to go continue with the academies programme inherited from Labour.
He told the newspaper: "It has become easier to get an A at A level or GCSE than it used to be and that's a problem. Children are being better taught than ever before. But the rate of improvement is the issue. Runners are faster now than at the time of the four-minute mile but they are not faster to the extent that we have seen more people getting As and A*s."
Mr Gove said the balance between course work and exams needs to be realigned in certain subjects, and that pupils should be credited for good spelling, punctuation and grammar.
He added: "If you are doing art or geography, you've got to have a work of art or a field trip. But if you're doing mathematics or English or French then the logical thing is to have a proper rigorous exam at the end of year 11.
"We are now seeing with the new exams regulator how we can make GCSEs tougher. The exam boards need to sharpen up their act. We are also saying in GCSEs that you need to award marks for spelling, punctuation and grammar. We need to have genuinely stretching exams which compare with the world's most rigorous.
"We need to ensure that A levels command the confidence of universities. Universities are reporting to me that students are arriving ill-prepared for independent learning. The A level has not given them the knowledge they need to succeed at university."