GCSE English Literature – Examining for 2021

From Ofqual: Consultation decisions – proposed changes to the assessment of GCSEs, AS and A levels in 2021:

gcse el

The relevant bit is in the second paragraph. It will be interesting to see what the majority of schools drop from the 3 areas. I suspect Poetry?

I’m guessing the pragmatism of teaching to two defined texts, regardless of ‘likeability’ of these, will be considered preferable over poetry (in syllabus I know well as examiner) with named texts and unseen questions.

From my examining experience (35+ years), that would be a shame. This said, I am no longer at the sharp end of the teaching of this, especially the broad ‘amount’ many teachers feel compelled to cover – compared with those singular defined texts.

By and large I think poetry responses convey considerable independence of thought and appreciation. Obviously, and as with any area of study/examination, this can be countered by examples of significant regurgitation and/or reliance on the over-taught, especially use of terminology.

But I personally usually find a student’s ‘voice’ in the poetry responses, especially as less reliance on use of terminology – from teachers – has grown as the examination has been in existence.

I’ve also found the unseen responses an increasingly delightful oasis of independent thinking. Not always, but often.

However, as with all change – like my not teaching the exam for 10 years – I am likely to no longer be examining it. We shall see.

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