In another turn in the UK exam board “advice” scandal, it has been revealed that the specific parts of which Shakespeare texts will feature in GCSE papers were exposed to pupils in advance by the exam board Edexcel, writes the Telegraph.
This revelation comes after three examiners from the Welsh exam board, the WJEC, were suspended after being filmed by an undercover reporter giving inappropriate advice to teachers about the exam system. While two have been suspended so far, they have all denied any wrongdoing.
And now, another exam board, Edexcel, has been found to have given students advice on which acts of which of Shakespeare’s works they would be questioned on — as much as six months before the exam is set to take place.
Many believe that giving students specific advice on which acts of the plays would appear would encourage “Shakespeare-lite” being taught in “bite-sized chunks”.
Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, has ordered an inquiry into the allegations and has threatened to ban teachers’ exam seminars.
Julien Chenery, from the Shakespeare 4 Kidz campaign, said:
“It seems we are moving towards a Shakespeare-light approach in our education system which goes against what any good education commentator wants to see.”
Stephen Twigg, the shadow education secretary, said:
“The idea that Shakespeare should be taught in bite-sized chunks goes against the nature of developing an understanding of the joys of literature.”
A spokesman for Edexcel said:
“Students sitting our English GCSE are clearly required to demonstrate an understanding of the whole play or novel they studied.
“For certain questions, particular acts from individual Shakespeare plays are highlighted in advance. This is entirely proper and within Ofqual’s guidance.”