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the Independent Regulator


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Isabel Nisbet, Acting Chief Executive of Ofqual talks at the Federation of Awarding Bodies' annual conference, 14th October 2008

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the Independent Regulator

  1. 1. The Independent Regulator Isabel Nisbet, Acting CEO ( 14 th October 2008
  2. 2. Outline <ul><li>About Ofqual </li></ul><ul><li>Roles in criteria and qualification development </li></ul><ul><li>Regulating the market </li></ul><ul><li>Technology and innovation </li></ul><ul><li>Some challenges </li></ul>
  3. 4. About Ofqual <ul><ul><ul><li>Independent of Government and QCA </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Will report to Parliament </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>To ensure standards and confidence in qualifications, exams and tests </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Conceived by Ed Balls in September 07 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Launched (in shadow form) in April 08 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Legislation in 08-09 session </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Meantime distinct part of QCA </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Based in Coventry </li></ul></ul></ul>
  4. 5. Our mission as a regulator <ul><li>Regulate awarding bodies, qualifications, examinations and National Curriculum Assessments effectively to ensure that the qualifications market is fit for purpose, that qualifications are fair, that standards are secure, that public confidence is sustained, and that Ofqual acts as the public champion of the learner. </li></ul>
  5. 6. Ofqual’s strategic priorities for 2008-09 <ul><ul><ul><li>Maintain standards in existing, new and revised qualifications and tests </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Recognise awarding organisations that are fit to be in the national system and make sure that they are effective </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Secure an effective and efficient qualifications market </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Act in the public interest when things go wrong </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Promote and sustain confidence in the regulated system </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Establish and run an effective and visibly independent interim regulator, within QCA </li></ul></ul></ul>
  6. 7. How we want to be seen <ul><li>Visibly independent from Government and the QCA </li></ul><ul><li>Focusing on maintaining standards and confidence </li></ul><ul><li>Rooting for the learner </li></ul><ul><li>Regulating a fair and effective market </li></ul><ul><li>Evidence-based </li></ul><ul><li>Respected and trusted by those whom we regulate, Government and the wider public </li></ul><ul><li>Open and transparent </li></ul><ul><li>Leading member of the educational community in the West Midlands </li></ul>
  7. 8. Ofqual and QCDA – roles concerning criteria <ul><li>Ofqual (and the other regulators) set common criteria for all qualifications </li></ul><ul><li>QCDA develops criteria for some specific qualifications </li></ul><ul><li>The three regulators adopt the criteria once they are content with them </li></ul><ul><li>The criteria development process includes points where QCDA checks with the regulator that emerging criteria will be regulatable </li></ul><ul><li>The decision by the three regulators to adopt criteria is a substantive one based on a thorough consideration of QCDA's proposals </li></ul><ul><li>If the regulators decide that criteria which QCDA developed need to be revised, QCDA be should asked to undertake the revision </li></ul>
  8. 9. Ofqual and QCDA – qualification development and accreditation <ul><li>Ofqual accredits but does not develop qualifications </li></ul><ul><li>Qualifications are developed by awarding bodies, with the support of QCDA, the Sector Skills Councils or other third parties </li></ul><ul><li>When the awarding body has a full draft qualification that it believes meets the relevant criteria, it submits it to Ofqual </li></ul><ul><li>Ofqual will take a risk based approach to its accreditation processes. We may ask QCDA to confirm compliance if QCDA developed the relevant criteria </li></ul><ul><li>Ofqual will provide feedback to the awarding body if it judges that the qualification does not meet the criteria </li></ul>
  9. 10. How we want to be seen <ul><li>Visibly independent from Government and the QCA </li></ul><ul><li>Focusing on maintaining standards and confidence </li></ul><ul><li>Rooting for the learner </li></ul><ul><li>Regulating a fair and effective market </li></ul><ul><li>Evidence-based </li></ul><ul><li>Respected and trusted by those whom we regulate, Government and the wider public </li></ul><ul><li>Open and transparent </li></ul><ul><li>Leading member of the educational community in the West Midlands </li></ul>
  10. 11. A fair and effective market <ul><li>Better understanding of how the qualifications markets work </li></ul><ul><li>Willingness to allow the market to work </li></ul><ul><li>Ofqual’s new Director of Regulation </li></ul><ul><li>Remits from Government </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Efficiency </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fees </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Vigilance for anti-competitive behaviour </li></ul></ul>
  11. 12. <ul><li>Why don’t you use technology more to deliver your qualifications? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cost </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Current regulations don’t allow </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not our skills set </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not appropriate for our customers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t know what technology we can use </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>We already make extensive use of technology to deliver our qualifications </li></ul></ul>
  12. 13. <ul><li>Here are some arguments against greater use of e-assessment in </li></ul><ul><li>qualifications.  Which do you think is the strongest? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It will encourage too much use of multiple choice questions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The technology might not work </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>There is not enough educational know how </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It’s too expensive for users </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The public and our customers will not have confidence in it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can’t test practical skills </li></ul></ul>
  13. 14. Technology platforms for assessment <ul><li>Open letter to awarding bodies – waiting for you at the office </li></ul><ul><li>No single national technology platform will be required for delivering assessments </li></ul><ul><li>But encourage co-operation in interoperable systems </li></ul><ul><li>If you are worried about clashes with detailed (pre-technology) points in codes of practice – ASK THE REGULTORS </li></ul><ul><li>Technology should be the servant of good assessment – not the other way round </li></ul><ul><li>Ofqual will promote good practice and stimulate innovation </li></ul>
  14. 15. Some Challenging Questions: for Ofqual <ul><li>How can you act independently when you’re still part of QCA? </li></ul><ul><li>Are you really applying the same standards to all awarding bodies – including employers? </li></ul><ul><li>How can you assure standards in (unpiloted) new qualifications, such as Diploma Principal Learning? </li></ul><ul><li>Aren’t your new rules too complicated (eg QCF, Diplomas)? </li></ul><ul><li>Couldn’t you trust awarding bodies more? </li></ul><ul><li>Couldn’t you be less risk-averse? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you really believe in three-country regulation? </li></ul>
  15. 16. Some Challenging Questions: for Centres and Employers <ul><li>How much do you know about what you get for the money you spend on qualifications? </li></ul><ul><li>Is the awarding body monitoring “burden” really support and help? </li></ul><ul><li>How can your learners have confidence in the qualifications that you offer? </li></ul><ul><li>What can you do to be a more discerning/demanding purchaser of the qualifications you use? </li></ul>
  16. 17. Some Challenging Questions: for Awarding Bodies <ul><ul><ul><li>Why can’t you trust each other more? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Are you really willing to lend some of your intellectual property to make the QCF work? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Why can’t you converge your administrative systems more to help schools and colleges? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Why should you mind that Ofqual is going to publish certification data about your qualifications? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>How are you going to rise to the challenge of the Government’s 14-19 qualifications strategy? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What can you do to improve your relationship with SSCs ? </li></ul></ul></ul>
  17. 18. Conclusions <ul><li>Ofqual wants a relationship with awarding bodies based on clarity, fairness and mutual trust </li></ul><ul><li>We are working out the role boundaries with QCDA </li></ul><ul><li>Ofqual’s values and objectives are clear – challenge us </li></ul><ul><li>We want to stimulate you to innovate more – including in the use of technology </li></ul><ul><li>The sun always shines in Coventry….. </li></ul>