Leading on standards: how to make our exam system the best in the world

For the last few months, we’ve been running a consultation on ways to restore confidence in exams, putting standards and quality front and centre. 

It is a debate central to Edexcel, one of the UK’s leading examination bodies, and therefore to Pearson, as its parent company.

In January, Pearson launched the consultation ‘Leading on Standards’ to begin working out the best way to move forward.

The consultation explores a number of ways to build confidence in the UK’s examination system. We asked six questions we believe are key to ensuring the examination system defends high standards:

  • How best to set world leading standards?
  • How best to define and protect a new gold standard? 
  • Should assessment be a profession? 
  • How best to share and use data to drive system wide improvement? 
  • How best to create a curriculum with a balance of stretch and mastery? 
  • How best to measure with more meaning?

As part of this consultation process, we hosted five seminars with a wide range of influential stakeholders in education, representing 75 organisations, and moderated by the think tank Reform. They brought together employers; higher education professionals; headteachers, college principals and senior teachers; parents and students; and the policy community including Government and regulators.

We carried out this exercise because we believe that a robust and rigorous qualifications system is an essential part, although not the only important one, of Britain’s world-class education system. Pearson has been involved in education for over one hundred years, and we want our exams to help raise the standard of education that every single child receives.

We’ve been digesting the results of those conversations, talking to experts, and listening to what schools, teachers and pupils themselves think. Pearson will shortly be publishing our conclusions, and sharing more information with the education community about how we believe we can make real improvements to the system’s credibility, and improve confidence in our teachers and examiners.

Find out more about Leading on Standards