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Educational provision for less able students of English and Maths

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Suto, Irenka 
Rushton, Nicky 


Current plans to reform General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSEs) in England and Wales include a return to linear assessment, the inclusion of more challenging course content, and an increase in demand at the level of what is widely considered to be a pass (Department for Education, 2013). Although these changes may help to stretch the most academically able 14 to 16 year olds, facilitating their progression to A levels and beyond, it is also important to ensure that secondary education caters for the full ability range. Students who struggle with core academic subjects also have a valuable contribution to make to society and the economy. Their educational achievements should be as significant a national concern as those of their more able peers. In this article, we compare provision for equivalent students in four of the highest performing jurisdictions around the world: Singapore, New Zealand, Alberta (Canada) and Hong Kong. We also explore existing educational provision for less able 14 to 16 year old students of English and Mathematics in England. Although cultural and societal differences provide good reasons to discourage direct policy-borrowing, international comparisons may nevertheless reveal some useful approaches for consideration.



Evaluation of assessment, Standards, Assessment design

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Research Matters

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Research Division, Cambridge University Press & Assessment

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