Every year as thousands of 15 and 16 year olds up and down the country sit their GCSE examinations, a heated debate occurs, about whether or not the standard of English has fallen. Many people believe that the GCSE exams have become too easy, and that children are not learning the essential skills they will need to use in the ‘real’ world.
Last year it was reported that 23.2% of pupils scored an A or A* in their GCSE English exams, a rise from the previous figure of 22.6% reported in 2010. It is thought by many that English exams are failing to challenge students, providing them with texts such as travel or sport newspaper articles and celebrity autobiographies to comment upon, instead of rich literature texts, which were traditionally a key part of the curriculum. Last year it was also reported that 70% of 16 year olds achieved at least five A*- C GCSE passes, with 58% of those children gaining 5 A*- C grades in their subjects, including both English language and maths. Although this could be seen as something to celebrate, many critics believe that the number has only risen year on year, since the introduction of the examinations in 1988, because each year the exams are ‘dumbed’ down.
Many employers, including supermarket giants Tesco, now ask potential job candidates to take tests in both maths and English before even being considered for a role. This comes after many businesses complained that both school leavers and graduates showed poor levels of education. It is thought that even those who passed their GCSEs with flying colours, still struggle with every day spellings. Many academics often blame the use of computers to write essays, as this provides the pupils with both a spell-check and grammar check, so there is no real need for them to learn the correct spellings.
Here at Juno Copywriting we could not possibly say whether exams have become too easy, but we do believe that an excellent grasp of English is essential in the world of business.