News

  • Our response to High Court judgment on 2012 GCSE English results

    Pearson UK president Rod Bristow has commented on the judgment from the High Court in relation to the 2012 GCSE English results.

    He said:

    “We understand this has been a time of uncertainty for students, teachers and parents. We are pleased that the courts have investigated the evidence thoroughly and found that our awarding processes were rigorous and fair.

    “Yet there is much to be learned from the events of this summer. We will now focus on working even more closely with the regulator, government, higher education and employers to secure the confidence of students, parents and teachers in the values and standards of our exam system.”

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  • Our response to the announcement on the future of GCSEs

    Following Michael Gove’s speech on curriculum, exam and accountability reform for GCSEs, Pearson UK president Rod Bristow added to the debate.

    Rod said:

    "We must encourage all young people to have high educational aspirations, and raise the standards bar to match and exceed the best in the world. At Pearson we have been working hard on developing new World Class Qualifications which deliver these standards and we will press on with this work in order to make a contribution to the new GCSEs outlined by Michael Gove today.

    "We also look forward to contributing to the debate on future accountability measures. For too long, accountability measures have risked capping our young people's aspirations and we look forward to the opportunity to help shape a better system."

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  • Our response to Secretary of State's letter to Ofqual on the future of A levels

    Here’s what we had to say after Michael Gove wrote to Ofqual about future changes to A Levels, including the development of new standalone AS levels.

    A Pearson spokesperson said:

    “Pearson is pleased that students will retain the opportunity to study a greater breadth of subjects past age 16 with the retention of an AS qualification.

    “We support greater involvement of Higher Education institutions in the new qualifications, and this will be particularly important to build recognition of a new AS as well as to ensure that A level continues to be held in high regard. Pearson is already working with a range of stakeholders from higher education and industry on our A level development, to ensure they prepare young people for further study at university, vocational courses and employment.

    “We will now work with the regulator to fully understand the implications of the changes and we welcome the sensible delay to the start date to 2015 to enable a smooth transition.”

     

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  • Our response to the announcement on reforms to Key Stage 4

    In September 2012, the Department for Education launched a consultation on plans to develop new qualifications for Key Stage 4. Here’s our response.

    Pearson UK president Rod Bristow said:

    “Pearson has argued that action is required to secure the public confidence in the strength and purpose of our education system, and ensure that we are being as ambitious as possible for all young people. This was further reinforced by our extensive consultation with teachers, students, parents and policy makers ‘Leading on Standards’.

    “British schoolchildren must be confident that the qualifications they work so hard to achieve will enable them to go on and succeed in their lives. This requires a global perspective, a focus on the future and wide consultation to develop an exam system which is rigorous, inclusive and equips children with the kind of skills and aptitudes they will need in the modern world.

    “Pearson are already working with an international panel of assessment experts, the teaching profession, employers and learners to develop English, Maths and Science qualifications which will motivate young people, adapt best practice from around the world, and help all young people to develop the knowledge and skills they need to compete with their peers globally.

    “After a period of significant uncertainty, we welcome the clarity the Government has now given as to their intended approach to reform. It is vital that we now have an open and consultative process which helps formulate a clear plan for ensuring continuing improvement and investment in examinations over time.

    “Over half a million pupils take core GCSE exams every year, and the process of replacing it needs to be carefully managed. Pearson are committed to being a partner in supporting schools and learners through any period of transition, and we are pleased to see that the timetable outlined reflects the need for an adequate period to prepare teachers and learners for any change.”

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  • Our statement on Edexcel's GCSE English results

    Here’s our statement in response to September 2012 press reports on the subject of GCSE English grade boundaries.

    A spokesperson for Pearson said:

    “The letters which have been leaked to the press today reflect a moment in time during extensive discussions with the regulator this summer. Following these we went on to make a decision on grade boundaries for English GCSE, which we consider fair to learners and which we stand by as right.

    “We understand that the ongoing debate is unsettling to students and we want to give reassurance that we have done everything in our power to represent their interests.

    “In setting grade boundaries, our responsibilities are two-fold. First, to maintain standards year-on-year for our qualifications, so that similar candidate performance is rewarded comparably over time. Second, to work with Ofqual and other awarding organisations to ensure a nationally-maintained standard, so that students of different cohorts and different awarding organisations are treated comparably.

    “We have been consistent in stating that grade boundaries for Edexcel GCSE English this year were the subject of lengthy discussion both with Ofqual and the other awarding organisations. With the introduction of new specifications, all awarding organisations needed to make changes to their January boundaries for June to ensure standards were maintained year on year. We also considered reissuing grades for students who took units in January.

    “The letters which have emerged in the press and have been discussed in select committee today are part of that discussion.

    “At the time these letters were issued, other awarding organisations had already taken decisions on changes to their grade boundaries and had those decisions accepted by Ofqual. Given the relatively small number of students who take English with Edexcel, the grade boundary decisions of other awarding organisations have a larger impact on national results than our own.

    “We felt that the original grade boundary changes suggested by Ofqual, based on prediction data and the decisions of other awarding organisations, would not enable us to adequately reflect student work in their grades. After extensive discussion with Ofqual we agreed a June grade boundary which took account of our concerns to recognise the candidate performance our examiners observed. This reported results slightly above original Ofqual predictions.

    “We are therefore satisfied that the final grade boundary we set for June enabled us to fairly reward learners as well as uphold the standard of the GCSE.

    “The letters which have emerged in the press give a partial picture of the discussions between Edexcel and Ofqual. We therefore feel it is important to publish the full set of letters in order to give a full picture of what was agreed.”

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Press centre contact details for journalists

For enquiries regarding GCSEs, A levels and Key Stage 2 tests please contact:

Kasia Reardon
Media and Communities Manager, UK

T: +44 (0) 20 7010 2336
M: +44 (0) 7702 512312
E: kasia.reardon@pearson.com

For enquiries regarding vocational qualifications and Pearson College please contact:

Tom Philpott
Government Relations Manager, UK and Europe

T: +44 (0) 20 7010 2313
M: +44 (0) 7715 890442
E: tom.philpott@pearson.com

Additional media contact:

Martin O'Donovan
VP Media and Government Relations, UK and Europe

M: +44 (0) 7968 438 219
E: martin.odonovan@pearson.com

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