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AQA unveils GCSE revamp

29/05/2014 Kelly
A new English literature GCSE is to feature works by Wolverhampton-born author Meera Syal and George Orwell but no texts by American authors.

Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go and Alan Bennett's the History Boys also feature on the list, alongside pre-19th century works such as Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Charles Dickens' Great Expectations, the BBC reports.

Controversy surrounded reports that American literary classics such as Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird and John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men could be dropped from GCSE papers.

The education secretary once again came in for criticism when Paul Dodd of the exam board OCR suggested the decision to exclude the texts was taken because of Mr Gove's personal preferences.

These claims were rejected by the education secretary, however, who claimed he intended to widen the range of literature taught within secondary schools.

The Department for Education pointed out that it only sets minimum requirements and exam boards are free to choose writers from outside the British Isles if they wish to do so.

AQA responded by saying it is technically possible to include additional authors but to do so would potentially create problems for students and teachers.

New requirements also specify that pupils learn whole texts, because in some instances they have been studying novels in disconnected segments in order to obtain higher assessment marks.

Andrew Hall, AQA's chief executive, said: "We know that everyone will have an opinion about which texts should be studied and that we can't please everyone.

"However, the combination and choice we have included on our set text lists has been guided by the feedback we have had from English teachers, whose job it is to bring literature to life."

He added that the texts on the list were selected because of their broad appeal and would allow the creation of "stimulating" exam papers.

Some 250 schools were visited in search of teachers' opinions on which texts should be included and Frankenstein, Animal Farm and Lord of the Flies were firm favourites.

Posted by Tim ColmanADNFCR-2164-ID-801724208-ADNFCR
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