Reform by trial and error is a big mistake

29th November 2013 at 00:00

The moves to reform A-level and GCSE exams in England are taking place without trials or tests to see if they are workable. The problems with Curriculum 2000 led to the conclusion that pretesting was vital to ensure that exam reform was feasible. But this is not being done despite the great risks of changing both levels at once. This has never been attempted before.

Indeed, Glenys Stacey, the head of exams watchdog Ofqual, told a conference I recently attended that there was no point in pre-trialling the qualifications. In her view, this would not have prevented the 2012 problems with GCSE English. If this is the official position of Ofqual, the conclusion must be that in England we can only proceed by trial and error. This is dangerous. The government is seeking more demanding exams with no indication that the reforms will work. There is no point in trying to fly higher if the engines are liable to fail on take-off.

Trevor Fisher, Stafford.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now