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One Exam Board, One Step Closer To Fair Exams

Edexcel. OCR. AQA. WJEC. Different exam boards, all with conflicting ideas about mark schemes, the layout of exam papers, topics assessed within the subject... the list goes on.

Having recently finished my GCSE's, it has occurred to me that a large amount of unnecessary stress and time has been forced upon both students and teachers due to these differences in exam boards. Instead of simply focusing on what I needed to understand,  I had to continuously adapt to a different style of examination.

What's more, numerous exam boards creates further complications as students reach further education. In September, I will be flung into a French classroom with 30 children who, whilst on paper appear similar ability to me, in reality have studied totally different topics. How is the teacher supposed to cater for such a range in starting knowledge?

Then comes the careless competition between exam boards to create easier exams. This "race to the bottom" is totally hindering to the education system: I want to be taught what will help me in the future, not a watered-down version of the syllabus as exams become easier. Whilst privatisation is demolishing every part of the public sector, let's not allow exam boards to turn education into a competitive business.

The simple cure? One national exam board, one syllabus and one qualification (GCSE) for every core subject. For other subjects, there should be two qualifications: the academic GCSE and the vocational BTEC. This way, different abilities will be catered for while maintaining some order to the exam system. Then all we have to struggle with is the continuous shifting of grade boundaries...

  • Date published: 20th June 2013
  • Written by: Siobhan Middleton