From September next year, secondary teachers will no longer be taking their new GCSE pupils through modular exams, after the examinations watchdog Ofqual confirmed changes to the qualifications.
The reforms announced this week will abolish the modular examination system, replacing it with the traditional system in which pupils sit an exam at the end of their two-year course.
In courses which require extensive writing, pupils will once again be marked on spelling, punctuation and grammar in a reversion and this will contribute to their overall grade in a subject.
Minister for schools Nick Gibb welcomed the measures, which were introduced following plans made in the 2010 White Paper 'The Importance of Teaching'.
The government believe that modular exams which take place throughout the two-year courses have left pupils being taught to the test, denying them the chance to properly study and understand a subject in its entirety.
Mr Gibb said that the move would restore confidence in GCSEs.
"We want to break the constant treadmill of exams and retakes throughout students’ GCSE courses - school shouldn’t be a dreary trudge from one test to the next," he said.
"Sitting and passing modules has become the be-all and end-all, instead of achieving a real, lasting understanding and love of a subject."
The minister added that abolishing separate marks for spelling, punctuation and grammar was a mistake as employers expect those with high grades to be able to write with accuracy.
Reforms were made by Ofqual following a six-week consultation period between September and Novemeber in which 1,261 responses were heard, with broad agreement to the proposals.
Under the reformed system, young people beginning a two-year GCSE course in September 2012 will sit final exams when they come to the end of their studies in the summer of 2014.
Students will no longer be able to re-take individual exams "to boost their grades", though re-sitting an entire GCSE exam will be allowed.
Re-sits of the English and maths however will be fast-tracked for November examinations.
Posted by Alan Douglas