Commenting on Ofqual's proposed plan for the future of qualifications, Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said;
“Ofqual are right that the pandemic has catalysed questions about assessment in England, however the questions they address are far too limited. A greater role for technology is worth researching but, as demonstrated by the Independent Assessment Commission, parents, students, employers, teachers, assessment experts and policy makers agree that using exams alone is outdated and doesn’t pick up all of a young person’s abilities.
'Government determines policy and so should encourage Ofqual to also research the imbalance in the system between those types of skills, knowledge and attributes students are tested on in an exam and the many others, which are currently missed in some qualifications because no other form of assessment is used, and memorisation is all that counts.
'We are encouraged that Ofqual says they will look at removing regulatory barriers where these are blocking valid and efficient assessments. Clearly, one obvious barrier to meaningful, valid GCSE and A-Level grades is the condition that all assessment in GCSEs and A-Levels must be via examination, unless an exemption is allowed. There is much research and many live examples of qualifications in England already, which aren't limited by the same condition and which produce valid, efficient results using varied assessment methods.
'Education, and the proof of what a student has achieved in their time at school and college, is about far more than showing what can be remembered in an end of course exam. Grades and assessments should reflect this, otherwise we are doing young people a disservice.”