Community-language exams

In defence of GCSE and A-level in community languages

The LAGB has asked its Education Committee to comment on the report that the two exam boards which currently offer GCSE and A-level exams in minority languages are planning to stop examining some of them. This page is a collecting point for information to inform the discussion.

  • A briefing on the facts, plus arguments for maintaining these exams, by Speak to the Future.
  • A first draft of an LAGB comment:
    • The Linguistics Association of Great Britain strongly supports the campaign by Speak to the Future in defence of formal exams (at GCSE and A level) on community languages, and welcomes the recent statements by both the Conservative and Labour parties committing a future government to protect these exams. The existing GCSE and A-level exams in community languages help to raise their status and to give children credit for learning their heritage language to a high level. The decision by some exam boards to stop offering many of these exams is a step in the wrong direction. These community languages are a vital national resource, and especially so given the dwindling numbers of traditional students of foreign languages. They are too important to leave to the market forces that drive the exam boards.
  • Research evidence on… PLEASE HELP here
    • how public exams encourage second- and third-generation children to maintain their heritage languages:
    • how formal study of a home language affects cognition:
    • how formal study of a home language affects English competence:

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