Telegraph story on examiners “tipping” the questions

I was rather shocked with the Daily Telegraph story about A-Level/GCSE exam board examiners running seminars – charging up to 230 pounds – where secrets of the exam papers, such as the cycling of exam questions, are revealed. Shocked that people are handing over 230 pounds to be told the obvious. The full story and video evidence is here.
I think that the Telegraph is focussing on the wrong story somewhat. The problem is not whether rules were broken or guidance was not followed but with quality of the exam papers. Basically, even I can tell you what will be on the mathematics A-Level exam paper. (Please send 230 pound if you want me to tell you.) The exam papers are just too predictable. The key to understanding this state of affairs is actually given in the article but not covered in depth:

The investigation has exposed a system in which exam boards aggressively compete with one another to win “business” from schools. Evidence that standards of exams have been deliberately driven down to encourage schools to sign up for them has also been uncovered.

Unfortunately that evidence doesn’t appear in the article. Nonetheless it is worth reading; it adds more to the case for reform.

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