In July 2018 the Joint Council for Qualifications launched an independent Commission into examination malpractice. The Commission considered both general and vocational assessments and was chaired by Sir John Dunford. It was set up to ‘consider the nature, extent and drivers of malpractice in exam system’ and to make recommendations for improvement. The commission had broad representation from across education sectors and stakeholders. The final report was published on 9 September 2019.
Commission member and Senior Policy Manager at the Association of Colleges, Eddie Playfair said:
“AoC welcomes the report of the commission and supports its recommendations. We have a high stakes qualification system which is complex and highly regulated and has a very low incidence of malpractice. Nevertheless, it’s important for us to consider what more can be done to ensure that there is trust in the system. In particular, we need to keep up with the potential for new forms of malpractice resulting from new technologies. The use of access arrangements and special considerations to support candidates with disabilities also needs to be more consistent.
“Colleges, students and employers value the use of centre-based assessment, where teachers assess students’ coursework, projects or workplace skills. These are an essential element of the technical and vocational qualifications which colleges offer and which have currency in the labour market. Therefore, any moves to strengthen verification and moderation processes and the centre inspection service are very welcome.
“The main defence against malpractice is to have a strong ethical culture of integrity and openness about exams and assessment processes. That culture needs to be supported and nurtured in every exam centre. We also need to ensure that heads of centre, exam officers and everyone involved in managing assessment receives the training and support they need and that the system is properly resourced.
“A trusted world class examination system comes at a price and there are always costs attached to doing things well. The costs of assessment are mostly borne by centres themselves and any additional financial or administrative requirements need to be reflected in the funding for colleges.
“It has been a real pleasure to work with Sir John and so many expert colleagues on these issues and these recommendations deserve to be taken up by all those involved in running our qualification system.”
See also: AoC comment on Qualification Price Index