Education CommitteeFurther written evidence submitted by Pearson (Annex B)

Edexcel Actions Update

February 2012

There are several internal work streams we are now pursuing as part of our response to the Daily Telegraph’s investigation, the details of which are included below. These activities are designed to enhance quality assurance processes and transparency across our business to address head on any perceived risks or conflicts. This will protect our reputation, that of our examiners, and most importantly that of the wider education system in the future.


We have conducted a root and branch review of our training activities and are making a number of changes which will increase their transparency and give us an appropriate level of control and accountability for the information being shared.

As of now all training events will be recorded, archived and audited for quality control purposes.

This is in addition to the existing Code of Conduct all examiners are expected to sign as part of their relationship with Edexcel.

From August 2012:

We will create a new team of Standards and Quality Officers. These will attend all face-to-face and online interactive events to manage the event, audio record the event (where deemed appropriate) and mitigate any risk of conflict of interest.

Any Assessment Associate (examiner) involved in live examination paper development will not deliver face to face training to teachers or students. Where an Assessment Associate stops being involved in live paper development, they should not deliver training to teachers until after these papers have been sat.

A training quality assurance division will be set-up within our Business Assurance Group to take responsibility for inspecting and regulating our training provision. This team will be independent of the Edexcel training team.

The responsibility for preparing and approving all materials used for events will be signed off by the Standards team.

Other support and resources

In addition to offering training, we also publish a wide range of resources (closely integrated with Edexcel specifications) that are designed to support teachers and students to improve learning. Like other Awarding Organisations and publishers, we currently restrict access to the content contained within these resources to those that pay for a licence to use it. It is our intention to make content within future resources available in disaggregated form to all stakeholders free of charge.

We are now working through how to achieve this, with a view to piloting with some content before the end of the year. That will entail making sure we own all the intellectual property rights to these resources so we can make them available in an accessible format.


Ofqual have requested that Geography GCSE specifications of all awarding organisations be resubmitted for accreditation. We are taking this forward as a matter of urgency to ensure the new specification is available to teachers as soon as possible to prepare for teaching.

We have commissioned an external team of assessment and subject experts based at the Institute of Education, University of London to review independently our specifications and external assessments at GCSE and A-level against those of other awarding organisations and Ofqual’s subject criteria, to reassure us of their comparability and compliance.

In addition, we have asked the same team to look at the content from the perspective of a subject expert involved in higher education to give their view as to whether—notwithstanding regulations—they consider the specifications to be at the appropriate level of demand and challenge.

Should issues be uncovered in the former case, we will seek reaccreditation from Ofqual of a revised specification and/or make the recommendation that this request is made of other awarding bodies.

As to the latter, we will make the recommendation to Ofqual that subject criteria needs to be reviewed to ensure it reflects the standard demanded by higher education. We would expect to work with them and other boards to implement this change swiftly.

Examination papers

Concerns have been raised about the possibility that question papers associated with specifications may become predictable if that specification has been available for teaching for a certain length of time. We are working with University of Nottingham to consider whether there are methods we can use to track or metric predictability to ensure a more rigorous, data driven approach to this issue.


We are reviewing the scope, nature and contracting arrangements for our Senior Examiner roles as part of the path to operationalising our proposal on making Assessment a Profession, which is described in our consultation paper.

February 2012

Prepared 2nd July 2012