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Statement in response to Ofqual’s consultation into teacher involvement in developing exam papers

Statement on behalf of JCQ, its member awarding organisations that offer GCSEs and GCEs in England, Cambridge Assessment International Education, International Baccalaureate Organization, AoC, ASCL, HMC, and NAHT, in response to the publishing of Ofqual’s consultation into Teacher involvement in developing exam papers and other confidential assessments.

“Malpractice undertaken by assessment setters involved in the production of question papers seriously damages the integrity of the entire examination system and undermines public confidence.

“The very low number of such instances is due to the professional integrity of the vast majority of assessment setters (and others involved in the preparation of examination papers) and the current system of support and safeguards.

“We welcome Ofqual’s review into teacher involvement in the setting of examination questions and handling of confidential materials and look forward to responding in detail to the consultation published today. We endorse Ofqual’s position of supporting the continuing involvement of practising teachers in the examination system. Removing teachers from the process would have significant detrimental effects and expose the examinations system to unacceptable risks.”

“Since summer 2017, we have reviewed our own safeguards and worked collectively to identify how, as an industry, we can deliver improvements across the whole system. 

“We have identified seven areas on which we will continue to collaborate to strengthen the system and build on the actions already taken by individual exam boards.  Some of these are deliverable in the short term, others, given the size and scale of the system, will take longer to review and implement.  It is essential that any changes to the current processes are well-tested, deliverable, and do not just move risk around the system.”

In summary, the seven areas are:

  • Strengthen confidentiality clauses within contracts of those developing exam papers and other confidential material by introducing industry-wide principles
  • Improve conflict of interest declarations to the awarding body by those who set exam questions and other confidential material
  • Improve school and college identification of those setting exam questions and other confidential material and their potential conflicts of interest, including JCQ writing to every school and college (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) with guidance
  • Provide enhanced training on managing conflicts of interest for all those who set exam questions
  • Provide greater assistance to schools and colleges so they can support those who set exam questions and other confidential materials
  • Continue to identify new ways to prevent malpractice and detect it when it occurs
  • Make sure everyone is aware of possible sanctions by awarding bodies and the school or college.

Further details can be found in a joint paper here.

Press and Media contacts:

Steven George
NAHT Head of Press and Media
01444 472886
07970 907730


Email :
press.office@naht.org.uk