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Easy-peasy science GCSEs binned

You put the bunsen burner where?

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Science GCSEs set to replace the pack of dumbed down current exams have been rejected for being too easy.

Exam regulator Ofqual has said the proposed GCSEs don't go far enough to addressing the “serious concerns” it has for science assessment. It says they are not demanding enough, especially for the brightest students.

The 36 new exams and course structures, drawn up by five examining bodies, were due to start being taught in September 2011. These five organisations still hope to rework their stuff to hit the deadline.

Ofqual ordered the science paper revamp last summer. It launched the initial review because it found “serious causes for concern when monitoring the version of the qualifications used in 2007 and 2008, and still in use today”.

It's unclear if enough messing around with frogs, Van de Graaff generators, radioactive bits and bobs, and Bunsen burner fights are included in the syllabuses.

Kathleen Tattersall, Chair of Ofqual and Chief Regulator, said: "Ofqual’s job is to make sure that standards are maintained. If qualifications do not meet our standards, we cannot accept them into the regulated system.

"Learners, teachers, employers and universities look for the independent regulator’s stamp of approval as assurance that qualifications are rigorous, demanding and fair. I look forward to receiving improved GCSE science qualifications that meet our requirements."

Meanwhile Ofqual says improvements have been built in to the current version of exams, and the regulators will make sure that grades awarded this summer are appropriate and fair.

GCSE science subjects are: science; additional science; additional applied science; biology; chemistry and physics. ®

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