Gove under fire: Exam reforms heavily criticised as plans for ‘ABac’ league table leaked

In an article in the TES, 19/10/12, Head of Ofqual, Glenys Stacey voices her concerns about timetables for exam reform. 

Ministers’ exam reform programme was under siege this week, as universities rebuffed plans for higher education to “own” new A levels and further influential figures joined the chorus of criticism facing proposed English Baccalaureate Certificates (EBCs).

The opposition came as proposals for an “Advanced Baccalaureate” (ABac) league table measure, requiring A-level students to write a 5,000-word essay and undertake voluntary work, were leaked. However, a source very close to education secretary Michael Gove played down the idea, describing it as being simply “on the drawing board”

Heads of Ofqual past and present, two of England’s big three exam boards, the Conservative chair of the Commons Education Select Committee, two recently departed senior DfE officials, teaching unions and academic experts have all now spoken out against the government’s proposed exam reforms.

Glenys Stacey, Ofqual chief regulator, has already voiced concerns about the EBC reform timetable - the GCSE replacements are to be taught from 2015. She has also warned that the single exam board franchise model proposed would make it “extremely difficult” to regulate EBCs and ensure “standards and value for money”.

Ms Stacey has now gone further and said that franchising would also increase risks for A levels, remaining GCSEs and the viability of entire exam boards. It would threaten the “cross-subsidies” between qualifications and lead to the “financial turbulence and uncertainty inherent in market reform”, she told a Cambridge Assessment conference last week.

By William Stewart, TES. Click here to read the article © TES