Ofqual to review exam system

15 May, 2011

Ofqual to review exam system

Ofqual has already reviewed GCSE science exams, and reported last year that “standards are currently too low”.

England’s exam system must be reviewed to put an end to the public perception that GCSEs and A-levels are too easy, a senior watchdog official has said.

The new Ofqual chief executive Glenys Stacey said a review would help combat fears that standards “aren’t what they used to be”.

Ms Stacey’s plans to boost public confidence in the exam system come after the A-level pass rate rose for the 28th year in a row in 2010, with 27% gaining at least one A grade.

Meanwhile, the GCSE pass rate saw its 23rd year-on-year improvement, as almost one in four entries was awarded an A grade or better.

While some pupils may turn to private tutors to help them achieve top results, others may resit some of their exams to boost their grades.

The qualifications watchdog has been asked to investigate the impact of allowing resits, as well as comparing A-levels with equivalent qualifications abroad.

Ofqual has already reviewed GCSE science exams, and reported last year that “standards are currently too low”.

Ms Stacey told The Daily Telegraph: “We do a lot of work here to maintain standards on all key qualifications – across the board on subject matters and subject levels.

“But still there is a public concern over standards and a feeling that things aren’t what they used to be.

“Well, I would like to understand that better and actually bring some evidence to the debate as well.”

It is understood to be the first time Ofqual has acknowledged there is a negative public perception over the qualifications.

Ms Stacey went on to say it would benefit pupils if the extent of any drop in standards was discovered.

She also said that competition between exam boards and their sale of supplementary text books and courses would be included in her review.