Powers that be

I write in response to your story on GCSE science (The TES, October 24). Ofqual, the new exams regulator in England, asked AQA to adjust its GCSE science grade boundary in order to ensure that standards were maintained and that all learners had their attainment at the various grades accurately reflected in their results. We are confident that learners can be assured the standards applied to their work by all the awarding bodies were carefully checked and their grades truly reflect their attainment.

It is important to look in detail at the introduction of any new qualification and new specifications. For this reason Ofqual has been paying close attention to GCSE science and will be continuing this monitoring by looking at the question papers and the mark schemes of all awarding bodies. We will report on this work early in 2009.

We welcome The TES's suggestion that Ofqual should be given powers to direct exams boards should we feel that standards are at risk. We believe we should have such powers and we have been working with Government on how they can include this in the legislation to establish Ofqual.

Isabel Nisbet, Acting chief executive, Ofqual.

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