When GCSEs were introduced two decades ago, one of the aims was to help girls catch up with boys in exams. The plan was a classic case of unintended consequences: the requirement for GCSEs to be graded with at least a quarter of the points from coursework has resulted in girls being awarded higher grades across the board.
Although boys and their lack of conformity in the classroom attracted the blame for their deteriorating grades by the feminised teaching profession, the truth is out: boys can doing better than girls. In Mathematics boys are now outperforming girls in all the higher grades.
So what has driven up their scores? Extra relevance of lessons? Better teacher training and school discipline structures? Lessons moved to inner city football clubs or fishing trips for malcontents?
The solution has been obvious for ten years, but has only been implemented because it has become obviouse that work completed at home was open to widespread plagiarism. It has worked for Mathematics GCSE as well as all the International Baccalaureat courses. What is holding the government up from rolling this great innovation to all subjects?
Or the QCA could allow schools to offer the IB and let market forces choose.