Petitions against new GCSE exams attract tens of thousands of signatures

15th February 2017 at 17:10
Exams should not test a student's memory for formulas or quotes, critics argue

Two petitions against this year's reformed GCSEs have attracted more than 130,000 signatures. 

One petition, which already has more than 71,000 signatures, has called for GCSE students to be allowed a formula sheet in their maths exams. 

And the second petition, which has attracted more than 60,000 signatures, says the government should authorise open book examinations for the English Literature GCSE.

Both petitions say that GCSE students should not be expected to memorise formulas and quotes during their exams this year.   

This summer will be the first time that students sit the tougher GCSEs in English and maths - which will be graded from 9 to 1, rather than A* to G.

Referring to formulas in the maths GCSE, the creator of the petition writes: "If the government can recite them back to us then of course we can use a sheet but for now it's unfair."

Meanwhile, the petition against closed book exams for the English GCSE says: "Exams shouldn't be a test on the student's memory, but how we interpret texts."

The petition says students could be required to learn and memorise more than 250 quotes for two literature papers - which include the content of 15 poems, two plays and a novella. 

It says: "On top of 20 plus exams, students are experiencing high levels of stress due to the paper being more demanding for a higher grade.

"English is a subject that all employers and universities look at, therefore if students are unable to realistically achieve high grades there will be lower employment rates."

The Department for Education is expected to respond to the two petitions as they have both achieved more than 10,000 signatures. 

If the petitions exceed 100,000 signatures, then they will be considered for debate in Parliament. 

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