Our response to the Education Select Committee report on examinations

03 July 2012

"We welcome the Select Committee’s effort to create a competitive environment in which education comes first. In particular we are supportive of its strictures on the negative impact of the use of exams for accountability. We also believe that the idea of national syllabuses has merit. In order to deliver these a wide range of stakeholder input will be required, and it can be difficult to orchestrate this, as was demonstrated with the Diplomas, where getting agreement from the Diploma Development Partnerships on what should be included proved time-consuming and sometimes contentious. To avoid these pitfalls therefore we need to ensure that any reform is properly resourced, properly managed and has clear objectives.

"The report also identifies the fact that another factor impacting standards is policy churn and the frequent changes to the exam system that have been made as a result. It is important that any reforms that are introduced as a result of the report create mechanisms that allow us to get the right balance between government accountability and professional independence, in a way that sustains public trust, and puts the exam system on a stable footing.

"This organisation has been delivering evidence-based and research-led qualifications to meet the needs of all types of students for more than 150 years. Whatever the arrangements put forward by government we will commit our educational expertise and research at their disposal to ensure whatever is chosen leads to a robust form of assessment – whether at 16, 18 and adult."