Independent Assessment Commission

Department for Education written question – answered on 17th March 2022.

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Photo of Mike Amesbury Mike Amesbury Shadow Minister (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the final report of the Independent Assessment Commission, published on 2 February 2022.

Photo of Mike Amesbury Mike Amesbury Shadow Minister (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to implement the recommendations of the final report of the Independent Assessment Commission, published on 2 February 2022.

Photo of Robin Walker Robin Walker The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, Minister of State (Education)

Exams are the best and fairest form of assessing what students know and can do, and ensure young people leave school or college prepared for the workplace and higher study. They provide an even playing field, with everyone being assessed on the same content in the same amount of time.

The final report of the Independent Assessment Commission, published on 2 February 2022, rightly sets out the role qualifications play in supporting students to thrive in the next stage of their lives, be that in college, employment or university.

The department reformed GCSEs and A levels from 2011 to be in line with the highest performing education systems. The department consulted widely with schools, colleges, universities, and employers, both on the principles for reform and the detail of the content of individual subjects, to help them prepare for their introduction. At GCSE, the department wanted to ensure that young people have access to qualifications that set expectations matching those in the highest performing countries. At A level, the department wanted the qualifications to be robust and rigorous and keep pace with university and employer demands.

As we help children and young people recover from the effects of the pandemic, the department is clear that the qualifications system requires stability. Therefore, we have no plans for further wholesale reform of GCSEs and A levels.

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