Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Government interference undermines public faith in education

The Independent reports a speech given by Simon Lebus, chief executive of Cambridge Assessment, to an international conference in the city:
Mr Lebus said that, as a result of politicians becoming involved in the design of qualifications, "we have seen the Government ordering the use of calculators in and out of the exams system seven times in the last decade, the introduction and removal of coursework and political engagement at the level of the Secretary of State in the highly technical question of how to set the grade boundary for the new A* at A-level being introduced this month".
As he went on to say:
"This interference is counterproductive. It harms public confidence and means that people do not believe politicians' annual protestations that things are getting better since the claim is impossible to verify with the education and qualification system in a ferment of perpetual change."
The result is increased demand for international qualifications such as the International Baccalaureate, the IGCSE – built along the lines of the old O-level and now being taken by scores of independent schools – and the Pre-U, because they have not been subject to political interference.

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