How Should Examinations for 15-19 Year olds be Run?

12 September 2011

The Education Committee is announcing an inquiry into the administration of examinations for 15 to 19 year olds in England.

The inquiry will consider the benefits and drawbacks of having several awarding bodies for qualifications taken by 15 to 19 year olds and the extent to which the current system delivers the best and fairest educational outcomes for young people.

Written submissions are invited, addressing the following points:

• the arguments in favour of and against having a range of awarding bodies for academic and applied qualifications (including A Levels, GCSEs, Diplomas, BTECs and OCR Nationals), and the merits of alternative arrangements, such as having one national body or examination boards franchised to offer qualifications in particular subjects or fields

• how to ensure accuracy in setting papers, marking scripts, and awarding grades

• the commercial activities of awarding bodies, including examination fees and textbooks, and their impact on schools and pupils.

This inquiry will not examine the design or merits of particular qualifications, or scope for change to the range of qualifications offered. The Committee may undertake further work on different aspects of the qualifications system at a later date.

The Committee asks for written submissions in accordance with the guidelines below by midday on Monday 7 November 2011.

Please note

A copy of the submission should be sent by e-mail to and marked “Examinations inquiry”. The Committee’s strong preference is for submissions in electronic form, although hard copy originals will be accepted. Submissions should be sent to Caroline McElwee, Committee Assistant, at:

Education Select Committee House of Commons 7 Millbank London SW1P 3JA

Each submission should:

• be no more than 3,000 words in length;

• have numbered paragraphs; and

• (if in electronic form) be in Word format or a rich text format with as little use of colour or logos as possible.

For Data Protection purposes, it would be helpful if individuals submitting written evidence send their contact details separately in a covering letter. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Please supply a postal address so that a copy of the Committee’s report can be sent to you upon publication.

A guide for written submissions to Select Committees may be found on the parliamentary website at: (PDF PDF 1.25 MB)

Please also note that:

• Memoranda submitted must be kept confidential until published by the Committee, unless publication by the person or organisation submitting it is specifically authorised. • Once submitted, evidence is the property of the Committee. The Committee normally, although not always, chooses to make public the written evidence it receives, by publishing it on the internet (where it will be searchable), by printing it or by making it available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure. The Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence. • The Committee does not normally investigate individual cases.


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