Schools are only going to be allowed to use a student's first entry to a GCSE examination when it comes to drawing up performance tables from this academic year.
The Department for Education has announced the policy change became effective from September 29th 2013 and it could change the mindset of some people in teaching jobs as the government seeks to cut down on the number of early entries.
Between 2012 and 2013, there was a 39 per cent increase in the number of 15-year-olds sitting GCSEs and education secretary Michael Gove thinks this particular trend could be damaging in the long run.
He pointed to evidence that suggests teenagers who take some of their GCSEs early actually perform worse than those who wait until the end of key stage 4.
"It seems likely that candidates are being entered before they are ready and 'banking' a C grade where their performance at key stage 2 would suggest that if they had continued to study the subject and taken the GCSE at the end of year 11 they could have achieved a top grade," Mr Gove stated.
One subject where he finds the practice concerning is maths, as while there is good progression from A to A* after re-sitting the GCSE, the same cannot be said for those who achieve a grade B or C first time around.
Mr Gove also thinks these results show how the curriculum is being narrowed in an effort to boost performance, when it would actually be much better if successful progression was built on sound subject teaching.
The changes will initially have a limited scope at first, as they will only be in operation for English, maths, science, history, geography and modern foreign languages. However, for tables published from January 2016 and onwards all subjects will be taken into consideration.
Posted by Tim Colman