Education Secretary Michael Gove is looking to reform GCSE exams in two stages as part of efforts to make secondary school testing more rigorous.
According to the BBC, the short-term change will see secondary teachers training students for linear exams rather than modular assessments - meaning that students starting courses in September will sit all their exams in the summer of 2014.
Plans are also afoot to prevent students from re-sitting individual unit exams in an effort to get higher marks.
The report comes following the publication of this year's GCSE results yesterday (August 23rd), which revealed the first ever annual drop in performance levels.
This year's entrants earned A* to C marks in 69.4 per cent of their exams, compared with last year's 69.8 per cent - the first drop in 24 years since the tests were introduced.
Fewer students received the top grades as well, with the combined proportion of A* and A grades falling from 23.2 per cent last year to 22.4 per cent.
In recent years, there have been growing calls for the exams to be made harder. Reports have suggested that Mr Gove and his department had intended to scrap them altogether in the long-term, favouring a return to O-levels.
However, the Education Secretary denied any such intention in an interview with BBC News 24, expressing his commitment to reforming the current exams instead.
"There is one big change that I would like to see; in the past O-levels were only ever an examination for a minority. I believe we need to have properly rigorous exams for everyone. We don't want a two-tier system, we do want additional rigour and stretch," he said.
The latest comments will be welcomed by most in teaching jobs, with the Independent reporting there would be strong opposition to any attempts to reintroduce CSEs, which were offered alongside O-levels for less able students but widely overlooked by employers and further education institutes.
Posted by Harriet McGowan