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One national exam board?

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by lancsHOD, Jun 22, 2011.

  1. lancsHOD

    lancsHOD New commenter

    How about one national exam board?
    One GCSE so that all students sitting the exam at one sitting have parity.
    No switching boards because it's 'easier' to get a grade C.
    And you would hope no mess ups like AQA have done this year. Not a profit making organisation.
  2. markuss

    markuss Occasional commenter

    You're going back a bit! Last time any exam boards existed was 200/2001.
    Still back to the future may not be a bad idea. Only in the old days of exam boards, they had much more autonomy and also many differences in the "syllabuses" they could offer.
  3. Pearsons wouldn't be very happy with this.
  4. Nazard

    Nazard New commenter

    Absolutely. Yes! I've been saying this for a while now (though not as long as MathsMike has, obviously [​IMG] )
  5. Nazard

    Nazard New commenter

    ... and the problem with that is ?
  6. adamcreen

    adamcreen Occasional commenter

    I vote for MegaPearsonGlobal as the one board to rule us all, one board to bind them...
  7. Yes please!
    The amount of time spent deciding which spec best suits candidates is time I can ill afford. At
    least then I wouldn't have SMT suggesting that it was because I chose the wrong board.

    Of course it could never happen because we know that competition ensures that prices are kept down and quality is maintained. Without competition we would end up with huge amounts being spent on exam fees and lots of mistakes in exam papers. Ooops!
  8. None whatsoever. I see it as a major positive factor.

  9. We could all go for the IB...
    cyolba, tossing a spanner into the works :)
  10. Maths_Mike

    Maths_Mike New commenter

    I ofcourse agree with Nazard - post 6!
  11. Maths_Mike

    Maths_Mike New commenter

    However i might add that I do have some evidence from double entering students (yep we entered the same kids for with 2 different boards (Aqa and edexcel - edexcel was linear and aqa was modular with mod 5 done at the same time as they did edexcel linear) and although the kids almost to a person preferred Edexcel and perceived it to be easier the grades acheived were just sligghtly better with Edexcel the first time we did it and just slightly better with aqa the second.
    So although Edexcel seems easier the grade boundaries are higher so in terms of the actually grade kids get - i my experience at least - there is very little if anything to choose between the boards.
  12. One awarding body is an easy thing to suggest but would ridiculously complicated and expensive to implement. Would it just be for GCSE and A level? What about Nationals/BTEC? IGCSE/Pre-U? Entry Level? NVQs? In some subjects or all?
    And of course if something goes wrong in a national exam, it affects everyone. Remember ETS running SATs? Or as reported in today's Indie, the French maths blunders in baccalaureate exam. As things stand, if things go wrong the DfE can stand well back from it and shout from the sidelines.
    Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying we have a perfect system, far from it - but fiercer regulation is probably more realistic than nationalisation.
  13. mathman64

    mathman64 New commenter

    The current government is very keen on international comparisons. In most countries there is no such thing as awarding bodies competing for business, even in the USA they have state exams. Furthermore there are few countries that have high stakes testing at sixteen.
    A short scan through these boards makes it very clear how much influence the examinations have on the mathematics curriculum that is delivered to our students. Perhaps this narrow curriculum impacts on our standing in the international comparisons.
    Many awarding bodies are charities ie they make no profit. However they do employ a lot of people on good salaries. Therefore they still operate on a competitive profit driven model.
    One awarding body that sets examinations that are fit for the purpose of understanding mathematical concepts would be a step in the right direction. Teacher assessment to assess suitability to move onto further education (as exists in many jurisdictions) would be even better. And how much money would that save?
    How realistic this is is a matter of conviction. It seems to work in most places.
  14. Well put mathman.
    Maybe we should look to Singapore, where the national exams are N level, O level and A level. They are run jointly by the Singapore Education Ministry and none other than Cambridge International Examinations: http://seab.gov.sg/nationalexaminations.html
  15. Maths_Mike

    Maths_Mike New commenter

    More complicated than several different boards all other the same (supposedly) thing - how so?
  16. Not complicated to have; complicated to move from where we are.
  17. Nazard

    Nazard New commenter

    The problem with KS2/3 tests was the way the marking was 'organised'. EDS were clearly, right from the beginning of the process, not good enough. They did not have the level of knowledge or organisation to do this. For the three years prior to the fiasco year Edexcel had successfully organised things. Before that AQA ran it without major issues.
    The successful bit about KS2/3 tests was the way the questions were set. I don't know for certain, but I think nfer might have been involved (anyone know?). This model would seem to work for GCSE and A-levels too. The only problem will be ensuring you don't employ numpties to run the marking.
    My proposals:
    <ol>[*]A separate, central group write the exam papers. This could be the same people who used to do KS3 tests, or could have wider input. Current awarding bodies would have no direct input (although people with expertise could presumably be seconded to be involved).[*]Marking would be put out to tender, but successful bidders would have to demonstrate they can actually do the job (so current awarding bodies would be well placed to do this).[*]Current awarding bodies could continue to offer all the rest of their current functions. They could offer training sessions for teachers, revision sessions for students, text books, ICT materials, exam feedback, etc. The crucial difference would be that the conflict of interest whereby they do all of these things but also set the exam questions would be avoided.</ol>Anyone got Mr Gove's email address so I can send these to him?

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