Consultation

@Pearson launches major national consultation into the future of qualifications and assessment in the UK

  • For the second year running Covid-19 will fundamentally impact exams in the UK 
  • Pearson is launching a major national consultation looking at the wider issue of assessment and qualifications for 14-19 year olds, amid national debate on the future of GCSEs 
  • Leading UK and international education experts will help guide the multistage research project  

Pearson, the world’s learning company, has today launched a major new consultation seeking views on what an effective system of assessment and qualification looks like for young people between 14 and 19. 

The national consultation will engage learners, parents, educators, employers and parliamentarians to get their views on how the system of qualifications and assessment in England can best deliver for students between the ages of 14 and 19 and enable them to successfully meet the opportunities and challenges of the changing economy and world of work. 

The consultation will run from 15 Feb – 31 March and is the first step in an ongoing project that will draw on a panel of esteemed education experts and external research partners – culminating in a final report in Autumn 2021.  

Rod Bristow, President UK & Global Online Learning, Pearson said: 

“For the second year running, COVID-19 will force us all to adapt and rethink how we both educate and assess our young people. 

“While we work with the government, schools and colleges and other exam boards to make sure the system delivers for learners in 2021, we also have a responsibility to look further ahead and use this unique moment to consider all of the issues. 

“So far, public debate is focussing narrowly on whether GCSEs should be scrapped but we recognise that GCSEs are just one stage in the age 14 to 19 journey. Coherence across all stages of education is essential and Covid aside, we need to ensure what young people learn, how they learn it and how it is assessed, is fit for the 21st century.” 

The consultation will consider three fundamental areas: 

  • Conditions and Environment: exploring shifting requirements of the digital first generation and how wider economic, technological, and societal trends are impacting both the demands of, and requirements for, today’s learners. 
  • Purpose and Value: considering the role that education within the 14-19 phase should play in helping develop confident and well-rounded learners and supporting their life aspirations. 
  • Trust and Equity: exploring issues around fairness and coherence in the system to maintain public confidence in qualifications and assessment, and to ensure that the system delivers equitably for all learners and serves the diversity of the UK. 

The findings of the consultation will be published in an interim report in May and inform a second phase of qualitative research by an external research partner. To guide the project, and set the direction for the second phase research, Pearson has assembled a panel of educational experts representing assessment and qualifications, academia, former Education Secretaries and Ministers, and leading sector representative bodies (see notes for full list). 

“With our global reach, we know that consumer demands and behaviours do not stand still. For us to contribute towards solving the biggest challenges of our time – including climate change and social inequality - it’s clear that we have to fully enable the passion and purpose of our employees in order to succeed. Therefore, it’s clear to us that the education system must reflect today’s challenges and do everything to make sure that every learner is able to reach their potential.” Leena Nair, Chief Human Resources Office, Unilever 

"Recent years have emphasised the importance of STEM in an increasingly data and information driven global economy. What we cannot overlook however, is the critical importance of people skills, fostering a growth mindset and enabling a culture for success.  Are we doing enough to ensure our young people have the balance of these skills, the emotional intelligence and the entrepreneurial edge to succeed? Those are important questions for this vital project.” Jo Marke, Global Learning Delivery Leader, IBM1 

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