Trust in Standards Declined -- Reform Exam Boards

The 'proudly independent' mid-nineteenth examination boards have become an 'arm of the state', subject to legislation 'that mirrors the high days of statist command and control' says Bene't Steinberg, Executive Vice President of Chelgate Education.

Writing in Economic Affairs, the journal of the Institute of Economic Affairs, he argues that education standards have become politicised, undermining trust in GCSEs and A-levels. 'Left unchecked', he says, 'cynicism over GCSEs will spread to A-levels, which are already coming under attack.'

The short term answer, says Steinberg, is to reconfigure the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) as a 'light touch' regulator which would stop second-guessing those who design syllabuses and examinations and 'get on with its main job of policing the standards.'

In the longer term, a way of forcing up standards is required. For example, a regulator could evaluate syllabuses and examinations and publish the results in league tables, so helping schools judge the strengths and weaknesses of each Board.