UK crack down on extra time in exams, according to Ofqual

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15th January 2018 13:36 - Education

UK crackdown on extra time in exams, according to Ofqual

UK crack down on extra time in exams, according to Ofqual: According to a new report released by The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual), 223,000 students were given 25% extra time to help them complete their exams, however, Ofqual believe this is too much.

Since 2015-16, the number of candidates given 25% extra time has risen by 8%, and again by 36% since 2013-14.

Overall, extra time was given to more than 390,000 exam candidates who sat their GCSE’s or A-levels and had a type of physical, social, mental or emotional need.  

Though it is acceptable for pupils with disabilities to receive extra help, Ofqual plan to ask schools to “review their approach” for those who have no “obvious good reasons” for extra time. Yet, schools that have an unusually low number of pupils who receive extra help will also be taken into consideration, to ensure no one will miss out on the guidance they need.  

Reasons for the low number of pupils receiving extra help could be due to funding cuts of 8% by 2019-20. Head teacher, David Waugh admits that he is “struggling to cope with training staff” and “can’t afford to resource courses” at a time when the Government changed every course and exam curriculum.    

Likewise, the number of pupils who were receiving an unnecessarily high amount of extra help could be due to the rise in mental health illnesses in both schools and universities across the country. This year, more than 15,000 UK-based first-year university students were disclosed with a mental health issue and reports of children as young as four suffered panic attacks, depression and other stress-related disorders.

With suspicions of schools “gaming” the system, Ofqual’s decision spokesman for the Joint Council for Qualifications, stated that there were “robust procedures in place to ensure only those candidates who are eligible for access arrangements, receive them" and schools were inspected to ensure applications for extra time were “supported by the required evidence.”

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