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Ofqual Launches Further Research After Report Highlights Possible Conflict of Interest for Awarding Bodies that Publish Training Materials.

The exams regulator today announced that it will investigate the matter further after it ‘did find evidence supporting concerns about the quality of learning’.

The report was commissioned after concerns were raised over the quality of textbooks and other learning materials which are produced under the current system. Many of the UK’s larger awarding bodies have publishing arms and often produce accompanying training materials designed to help candidates pass their exams. These can then be sold as ‘package deals’ to training providers alongside their qualifications, allowing awarding bodies to boost their revenues.

The future of this practice may have been called into question, however, after Ofqual concluded that this could lead to ‘a rather formulaic approach… resulting in textbooks that can be over focused on exam preparation at the cost of subject content…’ As a result, further investigations will be launched into individual awarding bodies thought to be guilty of this, alongside any other wider practices which may have undermined confidence in the exam system.

Whilst the Ofqual study is focused on GCSE and A Levels, the parallels for the vocational education sector are clear. From an IQ perspective, we have always felt that there was the potential for inferior products to be forced upon training providers (and by extension, learners) under these ‘bulk’ deals and that is why we developed our own unique approach.  In several cases, centres have contacted us after feeling pressured into using training materials that they wouldn’t have chosen otherwise, simply because they are produced by the same company as the exams themselves.

Under the system that we have pioneered, however, we encourage publishers or companies supplying materials to become members of the mutual company IQ Resources. This allows IQ to meet centre needs when we are asked for relevant training materials without compromising our integrity. We can provide a range of different materials or expertise and allow the customer to make the choice that’s right for them. In most cases this means moving away from materials that ‘teach to the test’, a feature of many of today’s materials that Ofqual singled out for criticism specifically.

A full copy of the Ofqual report can be obtained here.

For more information on IQ Resources, please click here.


Feb 27, 2017 07:54 PM