Wilshaw calls for reforms to exam board system

Speaking to the Sunday Telegraph, Wilshaw said: “It’s really important that the nation has confidence in the examination system, that it is robust and that our examinations are demanding.

“The big issue now is should we have competing boards? My personal view is that there is a real danger of examination boards watering down standards.”

Wilshaw suggested that the system needed close monitoring, because when boards compete for business they could be tempted to make tests easier to help pupils get better grades.

He put forward the idea of having one exam board for each subject, which he argued would eliminate this competition between boards and provide more consistency of grades.

He added: “You can bring the best examiners and best markers into one board and that will give you what you what we want more than anything, which is a higher level of consistency in marking and consistency of grade awarding.”

Michael Turner, director general of the Joint Council for Qualifications, which represents exam boards, responded to Wilshaw’s comments saying that multiple exam boards offer diversity and encourage innovation.

He said: "The diversity of providers gives schools and colleges important choices - choice about what subjects they can offer; choice about content and delivery; and choice about ongoing support and customer service.

“It also encourages innovation, investment and improvement. And all this within a regulated framework that means exam boards do not and cannot compete on standards."

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