In this chapter author shall plot broadly the changes in syllabuses, papers and mark schemes in the north of England where author was involved in developing from 1972-84 a pilot scheme for joint examining in the General Certificate of Education (GCE) 'O' level and the Certificate of Secondary Education (CSE). In doing this the author hope to highlight some ways in which the assessment of English has developed and the essential continuity of thought leading up to the GCSE examination starting in 1988. Teachers were also expected to assess oral achievement, and both this and coursework assessments were moderated; these have become essential elements in the assessment of English in the GCSE. By the time of the first joint examination in 1974, the working party had decided that oral English was an integral part of the assessment. The argument continues in the Secondary Examinations Council where many members of the English committee would prefer it to be integrated into the overall English grade and also form an important part of the assessment in English literature.