That's not the case with our New Zealand system of Internal Achievement Standards and External exams.
Students can generally pick and choose subjects/ courses that are heavily weighted one way or the other, depending on their strengths.
Our girls certainly love (and excel in) the Internal standards - they gain Exellence passes through their creativity and skill in English classes and, more and more, we're exploring how they can tap into their curiosity and creativity.
The blogpost from The Guardian (world's best newspaper - fact!) bemoaned the lack of thinking being encouraged in the UK system (I've taught A level English in a sixth form college so I sympathise to a degree) with this:
“Will this help us in the exam?”It is no wonder this is all students care about because this is all they are conditioned to care about. Every student has Ucas predicted grades, internal predicted grades, minimum expected grades, personal expected grades, AS grades, and A2 grades. It cannot be said enough that we should teach students to think, not just to learn the syllabus. All they want is to follow the rulebook and pass exams.
NCEA - love it or don't - it does allow our students to think and be creative if teachers can think and...um...be creative!
I've given my Level 3 class the freedom to work on either a connections unit, and/or a critical text unit, and/or a close viewing assignment. They choose the themes, the texts, the delivery system.
They are engaged in thinking and planning some breathtakingly fantastically creative things. Sky is the limit and it's blue and wonderful!