Mudcat Café message #283714 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #24671   Message #283714
Posted By: Wotcha
23-Aug-00 - 11:01 PM
Thread Name: GCSE Day!
Subject: RE: GCSE Day!
As a parent of a "pupil" in an English school, I take some interest in what has happened to the English education system over the years. Some random thoughts for our US Mudcatters.

What used to be called "O" Level (Ordinary) exams have now been devalued (in some respects) to the lesser GCSE. A former C Grade at O level is now an A Grade under GCSEs. Parents are a lot more involved in the new system and results include project work and rely less on written exams.

Americans have nothing like it on a national scale and, sorry Mass., will never have to endure the mass agony of their English/Welsh counterparts. It takes a couple of months to get results (so a week is pretty good in Mass). Good O Levels used to be able to get kids into American colleges (at 16 years of age) 2 decades ago.

The next level of education for the English/Welsh is the A Level where a 16 year old decides his/her academic future for the next 2 years by specializing in (usually) 3 subjects in either arts or sciences. O Levels/GCSEs are a point where kids figure out whether they have an academic future or not. An A Level subject pass can earn 18 year olds anywhere from 9-12 credits per subject at some American universities ... or at least they could 20 years ago ...

The system has some pluses and some minuses. The institution of national standards keeps the playing field pretty equal. The US system, governed at the State and local level, by comparison is mighty confusing to the uninitiated (nothing wrong with it necessarily; just different).

Cheers, Brian