characterized by some or all of the following features: under-performance in all four language skills; the setting of impossible or pointless tasks for average (and in particular less able) pupils and their abandonment of modern language learning at the first opportunity; excessive use of English and an inability to produce other than inadequate or largely unusable statements in the modern language; inefficient reading skills; and writing limited mainly to mechanical reproduction which was often extremely inaccurate.
Such was the opinion of HMI. A teacher writing in the Audio-Visual Language Journal in 1978 described a number of other problems, too. He analyzed the situation from both his and the pupil's point of view. He wrote:
It has been very hard work, demanding an inordinate amount of preparation and a great expenditure of energy in an attempt to motivate the apathetic core that exists in every CSE class. But the examinations are always a bitter disappointment and a derisory return for those children who have shown interest and worked well: a grade higher than 4 is rare, even though the candidates always include children who have the potential for a 1 or 2.
From these two perspective...
The CSE (Certificate of Secondary Education), first introduced in 1965, and the GCE 'O' level (General Certificate of Education Ordinary level) examinations, in existence long before, seemed inappropriate and needed revision. It was in this context of producing an examination better suited to the needs of learners of all abilities, and of motivating all children aged from 11 to 16, and especially those of average and below average ability, that the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) and Graded Objectives in Modern Languages (GOML) were developed. A combination of the new, joint 16+ examination and the GOML movement were seen by many people as realistic ways of assessing and motivating the whole ability range of pupils in secondary schools.
Graded Objectives in Modern Languages
The Graded Objectives movement achieved its momentum in the 1970s. It was prompted largely by a feeling among teachers that, in the context of the proposed new 16+ examination, the majority of their pupils could not be expected to sustain their interest and motivation for five years without some formal indications of successful learning.
The principle of the five year course which must be completed before a public examination could be taken [was considered unacceptable]. The first principle of the graded objectives scheme was therefore that the traditional five year course to CSE/'O' level should be broken up into a set of shorter term objectives, each one leading to the next and each one building on its predecessor.
(Harding, Page and Rowell 1980:3-4)
The second principle of the Graded Objectives movement was that learners should be given worthwhile and realistic tasks to do which were
(A) Achievable by all abilities