In March, 2012 PACE highlighted the difficulty faced by Education Minister John O’Dowd when Michael Gove announced a move away from modular GCSEs, which had been discredited and devalued over the years as a result of grade inflation.
Michael Gove moved decisively to bring about change but John O’Dowd rejected outright the proposals for Northern Ireland pupils thereby potentially relegating CCEA qualifications as inferior should the pupil be transferred to an English school or apply to a mainland university.
In October, 2012 after realising that serious repercussions would become a reality for N. Ireland pupils, highlighted by the latest GCSE exams blunder, Mr O’Dowd announces his solution - a review by CCEA. Readers will recall that CCEA is led by Gavin Boyd, the pending chief executive of the Education & Skills Authority but current chief of CCEA and the Belfast Education & Library Board.
CCEA is hardly best placed to conduct any review of the examination system since it it also the regulator. The regulator is responsible for ensuring the quality and standards of the examinations system. No doubt the predetermined outcome of any CCEA review will allow Gavin Boyd to position himself as the leader of a world class 21st century education system.
Perhaps Mr Boyd should pay more attention to Ofqual – a body not easily swayed by exams boards who also act as self-regulators
March 24, 2012
The Belfast Telegraph announced Friday March 23rd, 2012 that Gavin Boyd was “good value” for taxpayers’ money.
A meeting of the Chief Executives of ESA, CCEA, the Curriculum and Exams body and the BELB, the Belfast Education & Library Board would effectively mean Gavin Boyd in a mirrored room talking to himself. Instead of outrage at the very idea of such nonsense, the Belfast Telegraph promote such extravagance in a time of austerity as “good value”. Perhaps they may wish to pick up the tab for this inefficiency. No matter how Gavin Boyd slices up the bacon on this porker the most he dedicate to each job is one third of full-time – an indictment which even our political representatives have been forced to address. Will the Belfast Telegraph now apologise to all those politicians they tried holding to account?
If there was ever a need to answer the persistently wrong and ideologically failed attack on academic selection by 11-plus testing carried out by the DENI, an answer to an Assembly Question by a Sinn Fein MLA gives a resounding response.
|AQW 6202/11-15||Mr Daithí McKay
(SF – North Antrim)
It is little wonder that there were no press releases, planted media articles or angst-filled human interest stories obediently spewed up using words and phrases such as child abuse, stress-laden, difficult, morally wrong, scandalous. The DENI have known since the Household Survey of 2002 that the majority of parents want valid and reliable transfer testing at 11. Their miserable decade long campaign has resulted in failure but the DENI promote failure by denying the taxpayers their right to regulated testing and then object to and hamper those who suceed in doing their work for them. If an example of promoting failure is required then linking the ending of regulated transfer tests to the promotion of the multi-jobbing ESA Chief Execuive may be a good place to start.
Also note that there has been no effort by the unionist parties to highlight the response to AQW 6202/ 11-15. This may be explained by their secret desire to see the issue of transfer testing disappear or perhaps they don’t read answers that don’t refer to themselves.
One written complaint was received by the Western Education and Library Board in the last three years in relation to a primary school in that area preparing its pupils for unregulated transfer tests. No written complaints were received by any of the other boards during that period and records are not kept of any verbal complaints.
March 3, 2012
For parents who want to know more about the background to concerns about Gavin Boyd’s triple-jobbing influence the following article published by The Belfast Telegraph on 22nd December 2008 is worth reading. Note also the two published comments that follow the article.
READ THIS BELFAST TELEGRAPH OPINION
June 30, 2011
Gavin Boyd has described his current CCEA role as “voluntary”. He just happens to be paid £150,000 per annum for his altruism. In testimony to the Northern Ireland Education Committee he claimed to have been brought in to the organisation “to raise standards in the organisation” and “drive up efficiencies”. Consider the following and decide if Mr Boyd’s affinity for self-assessment and an extensive proclivity for profligacy could be behind his frequent lapses in judgement.
June 30, 2011
So PACE will share a few names and faces to make accountable those who sat on CCEA’s remuneration committee in May 2008 and ignored requirements to have the Department of Education review and approve payments made to the “Top Management Team”
The latest mistake by an examinations body, AQA, containedin the GCSE Mathematics Unit 2 Foundation paper has resulted in the clearest evidence yet that the Regulator for Qualifications in Northern Ireland is not fit for purpose. The Regulator had committed to protect pupils from further mistakes after a flood of errors in this year’s examinations. Roger McCune is the Regulator of Qualifications, he is employed by and works for CCEA.
CCEA are the Examinations body for Northern Ireland they set, SELL and mark examination papers. Put simply, Roger McCune and CCEA regulate themselves.
This may explain the persistent problem over lack of accountability when examination paper mistakes are uncovered. It is little wonder that the Chief execuive of CCEA, Gavin Boyd, appears teflon-coated when embarrassing stories appear. A simple template-like statement from the Regulator/CCEA employee appears to solve his problem
” I am asking for detail on the number of candidates affected in Northern Ireland and will be seeking reassurances from the awarding bodies that no candidate is disadvantaged by these incidents.”
This is CCEA’s idea of “rewarding learning” Failed quality standards in producing examinations and failed accountability standards in regulation. Why would the public have any confidence in CCEA?
What Gavin Boyd, Roger McCune or the education correspondents of the local papers fail to point out is that the CCEA and the Regulator are two sides of the same coin. Reassurances from either or both are meaningless and valueless. Neither party will criticize the other and often refer to the other in abstract terms. Read the Belfast Telegraph story P16 22/6/2011 http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/education/fury-at-northern-ireland-maths-exam-blunder-16014679.html
Caught like deer in the headlights Northern Ireland’s examination body, CCEA have had to admit to blunders in the 2011 exam cycle after first denying them. PACE had contacted the Belfast Telegraph about errors in the A-level maths paper after contact from teachers concerned about a mistake in the further maths paper. When the Belfast Telegraph contacted CCEA they denied any problems with their exams but pointed the reporter to an English exam board.
See the BBC story here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-13714383 No doubt the Belfast Telegraph and Ofqual may have more to say on the matter.