Is the Government in danger of missing another opportunity to get to the heart of the problems in the education system?

In a letter to the Times, 18/09/12, HMC's Chairman, Dr Christopher Ray warns that the government needs to also address the fundamental problem with our examination system which is that of  incompetent marking which leads to unfairness and injustice for many students. He calls for reform of the whole system.

"The Education Secretary is to be commended for seeking to ensure that able children are challenged by public examinations (report, Sept 18). The flight to International GCSEs, caused by the failure of home-based GCSEs adequately to prepare pupils for advanced studies, may now be halted if he succeeds in his aims. However, he must do everything in his power to ensure that the foundations of our examination system will be as sound as the new baccalaureate will be rigorous. Every year poor and sometimes incompetent marking leads to unfairness and injustice for many students; and too often, when pupils and schools cry “foul”, those responsible for examining take refuge in the protective cover of an appeals system which places an adherence to process ahead of the quality of marking."

"Any reforms to the character and content of the 16-plus examination “superstructure” will be seriously undermined by systemic weaknesses in the foundations of the system. Indeed, without careful reform of the assessment “industry” itself and the regulation of that industry, any reform, such as limiting competition between awarding bodies potentially making them less responsive to market forces, might actually make matters worse."

Click here to read the letter © The Times