1984 Educational exams for 16 year olds, took a change the General Certificate of Education/ GCE O Levels that had been in place since 1951 and CSE (Certificate of Secondary Education) examinations in place since 1965 were going to be replaced by GCSE’s – GCE O levels and GCE A Levels that were still in place.
In the past, prior to 1951 School certificates (SC) and Higher School certificates (HSC) were issued. The CSE was given to pupils who were not able to do O Levels. The New GCSE program was going to be taught from Autumn 1986 and pupils would sit the exam in 1988. The grading band went from A to G. Some 29 exam boards then merged into 5. O levels and CSE’s were graded based on statistical calculations that looked at the candidates performance against those of competing candidates. The GCSE was a new concept that grades were to be awarded based on the standard of understanding, knowledge and skill. The Education Secretary Sir Keith Joseph beleived it would be tougher but clearer and fairer. He also spoke about enterprise, entrepreneurship and using initiative in the 1980s.