Ofqual talks tough with exam boards

09 Dec 2011

The exams watchdog, Ofqual, has said it 'will not hesitate' to take whatever regulatory action is necessary to secure standards following the Daily Telegraph's exposure of cheating. 

An undercover investigation by the newspaper showed exam board staff offering guidance about future exam questions to teachers who had paid to attend seminars. One member of the WJEC board admitted on video that the advice he was giving amounted to 'cheating'. 

Ofqual has said the behaviour of the exam boards named in the newspaper's investigation was 'unacceptable' and it will consider both specific action against individual boards and wider action to reform the system.

An Ofqual spokesperson added: "We have also recently launched a programme of work to look in detail at possible conflicts of interest in the provision of qualifications, in particular study aids such as text books and training sessions, and have notified government of our determination to tackle any issues this work identifies.

 It will report to the Secretary of State before Christmas.

Meanwhile the Commons Education Select Committee has called representatives of the four main exam boards to appear before it in an emergency session next week. 

They are bound to come under pressure to defend the current market system with many reformers now calling for a single exam board for GCSEs and A-Levels.


User Comments

Rebecca Hanson - 12 Dec 2011

Beneath the headlines - a real revolution from Ofqual

Quietly - away from the headlines, a company called Ingots has been authorised by Ofqual to issue online accreditation.

This represents a truly groundbreaking step forward where schools can accredit as many qualifications as they like and are audited by Ingots - rather than them paying per examination. They simply have to robustly show evidence that students have achieved agreed criteria.

Initially being used with great success to create micro qualifications for special needs children, this kind of system represents a very real possible 'low-stakes' replacement for SATS and the proliferation in the diversity of valid achievements in education which can be accredited and robustly tracked.

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