Saturday, 20 February 2010
Options Evening - or - What's your subject worth?
This Wednesday is Options Evening.
Options Evening is the time of year when non-compulsory subjects in school compete with each other to try to get the Year 9 (14 year old) students (and their parents) to choose to study their subject for the next two years. This also has massive implications on departmental budgets and, quite possibly, staffing levels.
Over the last few years attracting students has become harder for the Languages Department due to the way options groups are set up and the increasing popularity of non-exam subjects which, it is claimed, are "worth" 2 or even 4 GCSEs.
So, what is a qualification in a modern foreign language worth?
Well, imagine you are a 14 year old boy.....(Horrible, isn't it?)
You can choose to study French, for which you will have to learn vocabulary and grammar, do homework regularly, revise and then sit exams and at the end of the course, if you have worked hard over 2 years, you will get a good GCSE grade.
You can choose to study a subject for which you must produce a portfolio of work and at the end of the course you get the equivalent of 4 GCSEs. If you haven't achieved the required grade you can go away do it again and keep resubmitting until you achieve your target.
Which would you choose? (If you say "French" you are not 14, you are lying, or you are French.)
When will schools and parents realise that it isn't the number of qualifications but the quality of education the students receive which matters?