Shadow Education Secretary Michael Gove will use a speech later today to outline his plans to restore integrity to Britain’s exams system. He will highlight a recent episode when OFQUAL, the new body ostensibly established by Labour to protect qualification standards, instructed AQA, England’s biggest exam board, to soften its pass mark in the new science GCSE. AQA protested the instruction but succumbed. Mr Gove will describe the episode as "unacceptable" and promises legislation to ensure that it cannot be repeated.
At the heart of Mr Gove’s speech will be a pledge to make British exams comparable to international standards:
"We have made it clear that our aim is to ensure once more that our exams are internationally competitive so our country, and our children, can flourish in a much more competitive world. That is why we would legislate to make the fixing of our exam standards to an international benchmark crucial to our programme of radical reform."
He will praise the International Baccalaureate and its protection by a respected, independent exam board in Switzerland:
"The IB is managed beyond the reach of politicians – it cannot be devalued by ministers anxious to manipulate the figures to flatter their record. Indeed the educationalists who have designed and who manage the IB know that it is only by resisting any pressure to devalue that their exam will retain and increase its popularity with parents."