School exams: have ‘standards’ really fallen?
We have now concluded our online discussion on examination standards and published a report and recommendations.
On 29 November 2010, an Early Day Motion ‘EDM 1099: Exam Standards’ was tabled by Ian Mearns MP. The Early Day Motion draws attention to the report’s recommendations and calls on the Government to act on these recommendations.
We hope that the recommendations will inform future policy. Thank you to everyone who contributed and engaged with the debate.
As reported in The Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail and on BBC News Online Cambridge Assessment hosted an open and frank debate on 29 April 2010 in order to clarify public understanding of the different examination standard issues. Over 100 people including teachers, assessment experts, employers and journalists attended. The debate was streamed live and nearly 1000 people watched the proceedings online. Watch the exam standards debate here.
Tim Oates, Group Director of Assessment Research and Development, Cambridge Assessment, commented that exam boards bowing to political pressure to make GCSEs and A levels more “accessible” could be one reason for the increase in top grades.
Other panellists included: Professor Roger Murphy, Centre for Developing and Evaluating Lifelong Learning, University of Nottingham; John Bangs, Assistant Secretary of Education, National Union of Teachers; Professor Gordon Stobart, Institute of Education, University of London; and Anastasia de Waal, Director of Family and Education at Civitas.
As reported in the TES, The Daily Telegraph, Times Online, The Independent, Daily Mail and Independent on Sunday in the run up to the debate, examination standards – and the perception of them – are of principal concern to society and dominate many educational and media debates.
To kick off the discussion we asked several education experts to comment on a paper written by Tim Oates at Cambridge Assessment about standards in public examinations. Click on the below links to read Tim’s paper and their responses:
- Tim Oates, Group Director of Assessment Research and Development, Cambridge Assessment
- John Bangs, Assistant Secretary of Education, National Union of Teachers
- Professor Roger Murphy, School of Education, Centre for Developing and Evaluating Lifelong Learning, University of Nottingham
- Anastasia de Waal, Director of Family and Education at Civitas
You may also find the podcast of the discussion held at our Parliamentary Seminar useful.