Take another look at coursework

20th July 2001 at 01:00
Chris Culpin is wrong when he asserts that there are no available GCSE courses before 1750 except the Schools History Project unit on Elizabethan England (Curriculum Special, June 29). I am a history teacher and teacher moderator for GCSE with the Welsh Joint Education Committee (WJEC)which offers a depth study of the Elizabethan age, as well as development studies - crime and punishment from about 1550, and health and medicine from about 1345. Many English centres are pursuing these courses at GCSE.

He is right to lament the development of GCSE as a purely modern course. One of the causes has been the lack of flexibility over key stage 3 content. However, his proposal that more marks be allotted to coursework must ring alarm bells for many teachers. This idea seems good on paper, but will not impress teachers for whom GCSE coursework signals endless weeks of chasing pupils as deadlines come and go, marking and remarking the same pieces of work as drafts are handed in (or not), offering advice which many pupils ignore, and dragging many pupils reluctantly to produce work of doubtful quality, or even of doubtful origin.

It is high time that coursework at GCSE was given another airing.

Mrs A Denton 2 Vanbrugh Close Rogerstone, Newport

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