International Journal of Art & Design Education

Art and Design in the GCSE: Objectives, Criteria and Assessment

Volume 6.1   1987



This paper examines the practical implications of the new examination for the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) realised in every secondary school in England and Wales and by each of the examining groups with responsibility for the new examination during the period of the introduction in 1986. After a period of uncertainty about the likely starting date and the hope of a last minute postponement to allow more adequate preparation to be made, it became evident during the summer term of that those pupils entering the fourth form (now Year 10) the following term were going to embark upon an examination course which, in many respects represents, in the mind of the author, one of the most fundamental changes in general education in the last forty years. In order to understand the nature of the changes, the paper considers some of the main shortcomings seen in the superseded GCE/CSE system and compares these with key features of the GCSE. Issues of planning through aims and objectives, assessment, differentiation, ‘neutral stimuli¹, resourcing, preparatory studies, coursework and the subject¹s relevance to the ‘wider world¹ are explored.