The Education Select Committee recently published a report calling for exam boards to be removed of their right to decide the content of examinations sat by students aged 15 to 19. This is to prevent a decline in standards as boards are said to be competing to offer the easiest tests, as schools are looking for examinations that will increase their passing rate, giving them an advantage in local league tables.
The committee recommends technical and regulatory solutions. It calls for an urgent review of the school accountability system which it believes drives behaviour. The committee wants national syllabuses to be created for each subject, with the input of national subject committees with representation from universities, employers and experts and accredited by Ofqual, the qualifications regulator.
Committee chairman Graham Stuart said the reforms are necessary to address “grade inflation” in recent years, which he said led to the public losing faith in the examination system. According to the Huffington Post, the report was published following a leakage of reports that the Government plans to abolish GCSEs and replace them with “explicitly harder” O-level style exams. The committee’s report is due for consideration by the Government over the next two months.
A Department for Education spokesperson said the reforms to GCSEs and A-levels are necessary to ensure that they are “rigorous and match the best in the world… so that every student in the country is able to take world class qualifications.” This will prepare students to be successful by broadening their knowledge based on what is taught in schools and how it is marked.
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