'No Case' For Replacing GCSEs, A-Levels

There is "no case" for replacing the GCSE and A-level examination systems in Northern Ireland, according to a report released today by Education Minister John O'Dowd.

The report contains 49 recommendations in total, which include short-term changes to GCSEs and A levels.

But it says there is no case for replacing A levels or GCSEs in the short or medium term.

The report was carried out by the Council for Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA) following its review of GCSEs and A levels undertaken at the Minister’s request.

Minister O'Dowd said: "Last autumn I commissioned CCEA to undertake a fundamental review of A level and GCSE qualifications. This followed a series of announcements made by the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove MP.

"I asked CCEA to consult widely and to consider what changes should be made to ensure a set of robust and portable qualifications are developed; qualifications that have the confidence of learners, educational institutions and employers across these islands and beyond.

Mr O’Dowd continued: "I am pleased with CCEA’s report, which is comprehensive and wide ranging and usefully identifies the views of a broad range of stakeholders which will provide a springboard from which we can now move forward. CCEA was tasked to complete a huge amount of work in a very constrained time period. I am very grateful to all those involved in this essential piece of work – in particular to the expert group who I am sure we will continue to rely upon to support this programme of work going forward.

"We now need to flesh out the recommendations within the report. Given its potential significance for qualifications development, I am also launching a consultation today which will provide a further opportunity for stakeholders, including teachers, employers, parents and pupils, to comment upon the findings within the report and to let my Department know their views."


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