Parlez-vous Français?

It would be difficult to make it up (although there are times when I wonder if the Telegraph does). Apparently oral tests are to be axed from foreign language GCSE examinations because they are regarded as being “too stressful” for pupils. In their article, Pupils ‘pass’ language exam without speaking in this morning’s Sunday Telegraph, Melissa Kite and Julie Henry report:

“The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority will announce this week that teenagers will no longer have to demonstrate they can speak a language in the traditional oral exams that currently account for half the marks at GCSE level.

In the long-established oral test, students converse for about 10 minutes with their teacher in their chosen language. The exchange is recorded on tape and sent to examiners. In future, oral skills in lessons will be assessed by teachers who will award marks that will be moderated by examiners. It is not clear whether any oral work in class will be taped or how examiners will judge a teacher’s assessment.”

I liked the comments of the shadow Schools Secretary, Michael Gove (also reported in the same article):

“After being told they could get a pass without writing a word in a foreign language, now pupils are being told they can pass without speaking it. Once again this Government is moving the goalposts on examinations. Instead of proper rigour, we have got a watering down of standards. Language teaching is facing severe problems and our children’s capacity to succeed in an ever more competitive world won’t be helped if qualifications can be awarded without their actually acquiring proper skills.”

If only they knew it, the proper response might be “Sans blague”.

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