GCSE coursework overhaul is damaging modern foreign languages


The overhaul of GCSE coursework is damaging modern foreign language classes, according to a report by Ofqual.

The report reveals teachers' concerns that the move to axe traditional coursework and replace it with controlled assessment has put pupils' learning at risk.

According to the report, teachers say they have less time to teach, and are forced to concentrate on the topics and language that students will need to use in their controlled assessment work at the expense of other areas.

The study, based on interviews with modern foreign language (MFL) teachers, comes after a report last year raised concerns about the impact of controlled assessment on languages.

The new study reveals that most of those questioned had significant concerns about the new system, with some calling for a return to traditional coursework.

Controlled assessment was introduced around three years ago, amid concerns about cheating and plagiarism.

Under the new system, GCSE pupils complete coursework under strict classroom supervision, rather than doing it at home.

Ofqual's report found that most MFL teachers believe that teaching time has been reduced, and that learning has been narrowed by the new system.

Ofqual said that the findings will be part of a wider review into controlled assessments in all GCSE subjects.

It comes as a study by Cambridge Assessment found that almost half of teachers believe that the new-style coursework has cut the risk of plagiarism.

But there were concerns that the risks have not been eliminated and that there is the potential for abuse of the system by teachers and students.

The exam board's report also says that many teachers believe that controlled assessment has changed the way they teach and that the knowledge and skills gained by pupils has altered.

The report looked at controlled assessment in six different areas - design and technology, French, geography, history, child development and PE and has been submitted to Ofqual for its review.

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