Education Secretary Michael Gove's oral statement about the reform of Key Stage 4 exams.
With your permission Mr Speaker, I should like to make a statement about the future of examinations and assessment in our schools.
The examination which the overwhelming majority of young people now sit at 16 - the GCSE - was designed with the best of intentions. It sought to broaden the numbers engaging in academic study and prepare them for an expansion of further and higher education.
In the years since it was established we have undoubtedly seen improvements in our education system - and those responsible - heads, teachers, parents, students and reformers like Kenneth Baker and Andrew Adonis - deserve our praise.
But the GCSE was conceived - and designed - for a different age and a different world.
A time before majority participation in higher education, a world where information technology was in its infancy. When the GCSE was first taught the school leaving age was still 16, state planned economies dominated half the globe and the internet was a work of science fiction.
Now that we are raising the education participation age to 18, now that nations which were slow developers 20 years ago are outstripping us economically, and now that ways of learning have been so dramatically transformed in all our lifetimes, it is right that we reform our examination system.
Because we know that the old model - the 80s model - is no longer right for now. We know that record increases in performance at GCSE have not been matched by the same level of improvements in learning - while pass rates have soared we have fallen down international education league tables.
We know that employers and academics have become less confident in the worth of GCSE passes – because they fear students lack the skills for the modern workplace and the knowledge for advanced study.
We know that children's achievements are not properly recognised - with even the Hon Member for West Derby - an education minister under the last Labour Government - admitting that there was grade inflation under that Government.
And we know - most recently - and most tellingly - that changes made to GCSEs under the last Government - specifically the introduction of modules and the expansion of coursework, controlled assessment, in schools - further undermined the credibility of exams - leaving young people without the rigorous education they deserved.
Read more ... (DfE - 17 September)