Assessment in Physical Education: A Teacher's Guide to the Issues

By Bob Carroll | Go to book overview
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Chapter 6

Issues in Examinations and Accreditation

We have already seen in chapter 2 how examinations became part of the PE scene, and how these appear to have gained a strong footing both on the academic and the vocational fronts. There have been other forms of accreditation and certification, such as governing bodies of sport award schemes, which were popular in some quarters before examinations and which have proliferated in recent years and units of accreditation of various types which have been prompted by TVEI and CPVE. Figure 6 lists these different types of courses and forms of accreditation, and they cater for academic/non-vocational and vocational routes into further and higher education and employment. It can be readily seen that not all the courses are PE or even sport, and the vocational route has broader courses into recreation and leisure. This has been a natural sequel particularly for FE colleges, where sport has been seen as a natural part of the recreation and leisure industries, and PE teachers and lecturers have played a strong part in this development. Brief mention will be made of the latest developments in this sphere, but the bulk of this chapter will be spent on courses and issues more directly related to PE such as GCSE as I do not want to be sidetracked into the leisure field as that is a vast area in its own right.

GCSE Administration

The GCSE was set up to replace the GCE 'O' level and CSE examinations, but it was not just an amalgamation of two examinations. There were substantial changes, for example, the idea of criterion referencing and fitting in with national and subject specific criteria. Brown (1990) even goes so far as to suggest that, along with National Curriculum testing, the aim was to raise standards and to be more accountable, and that in combination 'they were among the most radical and significant (changes) of the twentieth century' (p. 79). Together the GCSE and the National Curriculum were much more of a national plan for the curriculum, examining and assessing in schools than had ever existed before.

The GCSE is administered by examining groups, which were formed by an association of the GCE and CSE boards, in which there had to be one of each type. In England four groups were set up, whilst the Welsh Board (WJEC) and the Northern Ireland Board (NISEAC), which had previously administered both


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