They are qualifications that show you have gained a good level of learning in a given subject area and are recognised by employers and training providers in the UK as evidence of the first step of formal achievement. Young people usually take GCSEs at the age of 16 or With NEC, you can take them at any age. GCSEs are needed to get into college or university and a pass in English, Science and Maths is required for many jobs and apprentice programmes.
Scotland has a different system altogether, with examinations called Standard grades, Higher grades and Advanced Higher grades, writing about art gcse course are taken at different ages. Taking GCSEs is not compulsory, and it is up to schools whether to enter pupils for examinations. Each GCSE subject is assessed by formal examinations or by coursework, or by a combination of the two.
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Depending on their expected grades, pupils in certain subjects will be entered for the "higher" or the "foundation" tier GCSE exams. Pupils expected to achieve grades A to D take the higher tier and can achieve any grade; pupils taking the foundation tier can only achieve grade C or below.
Most subjects have these two tiers, but some art, music, physical education and history have none, while mathematics has three. GCSE syllabuses are set, examinations administered and certificates awarded by five "awarding bodies" or Examination Boards: The exam boards are overseen by three regulatory authorities: The awarding bodies decide on a "Common Timetable" each year, so as to co-ordinate the scheduling of examinations.
The Common Timetable usually runs from late May to late June each year. Arrangements for resits are made individually by each body. General Certificate of Education Ordinary Level examinations O Levels had existed since the early s, but were only available in grammar schools and private schools, and as such were only taken by the top 20 per cent of the school population by academic ability.
The majority of school pupils, who attended secondary modern schools, left without any formal qualifications. The mids saw the introduction of the Certificate of Secondary Education CSE as a qualification available to all, with its grade 1 equivalent to grades C and above at O Level, and its grade 4 pitched as the "average" attainment for the age group.
It was administered on a regional basis, while O and A Levels were administered by examination boards with links to universities. Part of the CSE system was assessed within schools, which generated criticisms of low standards. Furthermore, the existence of two not-quite parallel systems undermined public and employer understanding of the nature and value of qualifications.
Throughout the s, there was considerable pressure to merge the systems - particularly since the raising of the age of compulsory education to 16 considerably increased the number of pupils in a position to obtain qualifications.
Under the Callaghan Labour government, Education Secretary Shirley Williams now Baroness Williams of Crosby took the political decision to proceed with a merged "GCSE" system, but the election of the Conservatives in postponed any action for several years.
InConservative Education Secretary Sir Keith Joseph decided to proceed with a merger, on the premise that the new qualifications should be based on general and subject-specific criteria approved by himself; that the O Level exam boards should take responsibility for carrying forward the O Level A to C grade standards into the new scale, while the CSE boards should do the same for grades D to G, which were to be based on CSE grades 2 to 5 respectively; and that most subjects should be examined through tiered papers focusing on different parts of the grade scale, ensuring that each grade reflected "positive achievement" on appropriate tasks, rather than degrees of failure.
The first GCSE courses began inand the first examinations were taken in The inclusion of coursework in GCSE assessments was a novel innovation, which many teachers at the time regarded with scepticism.
The acceptable level of coursework in courses was capped by the School Examinations and Assessment Council a predecessor of the QCA in BA(Hons) Acting has a strong focus on practical work and students experience performance opportunities from the first year onwards.
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