Saturday School 2013

At a time when A-levels and GCSE are both undergoing fundamental reform, this conference was of significant interest to all educational practitioners – teachers, policy makers, administrators, and academics.
The conference involved the presentation and discussion of research, policy and practice relating to current reforms. These include five-year franchise arrangements for the delivery of GCSE, the removal of modular assessment, tiering and examination aids. At A-level, universities will be involved in the content of the curriculum and examinations, all examinations will be end-of-course assessments and there will be a re-calibration of outcome standards. The main purpose of the event was to bring together academics, practitioners and policy makers to critically analyse the factors that will affect the success of these reforms for improving young people’s education.

The speakers and the titles of their presentations were:

Glenys Stacey, Chief Executive of Ofqual: Principles of qualification regulation and reform.

Michelle Meadows, Director of Research and Policy, AQA: From benchmark to judge’s bench: an insider’s view of the causes of the GCSE English exams crisis

???????????????????????????????Jo-Anne Baird, Pearson Professor of Educational Assessment, University of Oxford: Grade inflation

???????????????????????????????Paul Newton, Professor of Educational Assessment, Institute of Education, University of London: Standards, transparency and reasonable expectations

Further details of the day’s programme can be found here.

The OUCEA report “Research evidence relating to the proposals for reform of the GCSE’ is available on the OUCEA website.

Feedback from participants

…It was actually a surprisingly refreshing way to spend a Saturday. Very enjoyable. I thought the mix of stakeholders in the audience made for good, constructive discussion. Events like this are not only important to further academic understanding, they are crucial to build trust and dialogue in the education system – so important at the moment. Thank you for the opportunity to speak! Best wishes, Michelle.
Just a quick email to say a huge thanks for the event yesterday in the Department, it was great to hear such high quality speakers, with an excellent balance between listening to the speakers and having a chance to discuss the issues being raised in small groups. I found it really useful, informative and stimulating and it was nice to revisit the department, after fond memories of doing my PGCE there many years ago.
What a good occasion it was. Can’t get over how much I learned and how stimulated I felt to learn more. Maybe that’s what education is.

More feedback from participants

Photos: Rob Judges and Carol Brown