International Journal of Art & Design Education

Testing, Testing... A, B, C: a Critical Appraisal of GCSE

Volume 11.1   1992



Tom Davies constructs a critical analysis of the 'new' GCSE Art and Design examination from a number of case studies and participant observations. The research findings suggest that the exam falls well short of art teachers' expectations. Some general theoretical considerations of curriculum design are discussed: it is concluded that 'GCSE may be best described as an objectives model masquerading as process and benefiting from the associated respectability.' Most of the perceived problems of the examination can be traced directly to tensions between formative and summative modes of assessment. 'Has GCSE in its attempt to measure/assess all the child's experience, made Art and Design an examination course, rather than a course that happens to have an examination?'