Pupils to advise AQA on GCSE and A-level exam papers

England's largest school exam board is seeking 15 students to give feedback on design of papers and use of technology

Catherine Lough

exams: AQA seeks feedback from students

The UK’s largest school exam board is looking for 15 students to give its leaders a "young person's perspective" when making decisions about the future of GCSEs and A levels. 

AQA will create the student advisory group to give feedback on topics such as the use of technology in assessment and exam paper design.

The board is looking to recruit students who sat AQA GCSE exams since 2018, as they have direct experience of the reformed GCSEs, graded from 9 to 1.

News: Exam board's GCSE and A-level blunders

Related: Exam board accused of ‘betraying’ GCSE English pupils

Ofqual: Ofqual threatens more exam board naming and shaming

The chosen students will attend the board’s trustee meetings and give feedback on their personal experience of sitting the reformed GCSEs.

AQA says a million students take its GCSEs and A levels each year. It has about a 60 per cent share of the GCSE market.

Elizabeth Kitcatt, a trustee of AQA, said: “Students are at the heart of what AQA does and we're looking forward to hearing their unique and valuable insights.

“As a headteacher, I know the valuable contributions students can make, and AQA's board of trustees really wants to include young people’s views in [its] decisions.

“The advisory group will provide trustees with a student perspective, and be able to make a real, lasting difference. We can’t wait to meet them.”

Michael Turner, AQA’s director of corporate affairs, said: “We already support students through their exams and revision, and have a dedicated team who respond to their queries and concerns. We want to develop our relationship with them further, so we’ve launched the Student Advisory Group to do this.

“We’re looking forward to hearing from young people who have a fresh experience of exams, and getting the student perspective from inside the exam system.”

The move comes after a tricky summer for the exam board. Last month, AQA was publicly reprimanded and fined by Ofqual after it repeatedly breached rules relating to marking reviews. The board had failed to ensure marking reviews were not carried out by the same person involved in the original marking.

Ofqual also revealed last month that, in 2018, AQA had received 38 complaints from candidates, parents and centres about the inclusion of a question in its GCSE English literature paper that had previously appeared in specimen assessment materials in 2014.

According to Ofqual, the “general tone of the complaints was a sense of unfairness and disadvantage towards candidates who had answered the alternative question choice”.

Both AQA and Edexcel were also affected by leaks of exam papers this summer, with an AQA religious studies paper leaked in May, and an Edexcel A-level maths paper leaked in June.

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author bio

Catherine Lough

Catherine Lough is a reporter at Tes.

Find me on Twitter @CathImogenLough

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