The Tory plan to put old exam papers online
will show how transparency can drive up standards. By allowing people to easily compare today’s exams with those of twenty, thirty years ago it will make it possible for everyone to judge whether the exams have got easier or not.
One of the things that I’ll be most interested in seeing is whether certain exams boards consistently produce less testing papers. It will also be instructive to see how IGCSEs compare to GCSEs and the pre-U to A-Level. I suspect we will find that these new exams — currently only available to independent schools though, the Tories would change this — are far more rigorous.
PS These details from a Tory study of this year’s GCSEs papers hardly inspires confidence in the current system:
“The findings include candidates being allowed to take a cue card into modern languages and students being told when the First World War began in the history paper.
In the chemistry paper, pupils are given a copy of the periodic table and an explanation of how to read and understand it and the physics exam contains several multiple choice questions.”