Question Terry Education

Standardisation in the provision of further education

Why is standardisation important in further education?

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Answer Expert #27412

Further Education (FE) settings enrol pupils aged 16 or higher in advanced studies as preparation for university (i.e. Higher Education) or to begin a career. Due to social inequalities, for example, socioeconomic or geographic differences, some students may be at a disadvantage to others in terms of reaching their potential upon leaving school. Therefore, it is important for a level of standardisation to be present within FE settings; this includes both controlling the assessment of the material and the quality of teaching. Assessment materials are controlled by Ofqual (Office of Qualifications and Examination Regulations) to ensure the quality remains consistent and teachers’ marking of internal assessments are rigorous and fair (Ofqual, 2016, np). This consistency allows universities or future employers to feel confident about the skills and abilities of pupils, as a student in London’s B-grade would be equivalent to that of a student in Leeds.

Ofsted (the Office of Standardisation in Education) ensures standardisation within teaching quality through regular inspections of FE schools and monitoring its examination results (Ofsted, 2015, p.4). In their recent policy ‘A better inspection for all,’ Ofsted disclosed the introduction of a Common Inspection Framework to ensure standardisation between all FE settings in terms of preparation for university; this is particularly important, as schools must ensure students are entered for the correct courses for their aspirations, as well as maintaining a high level of independence within their studies (Ofsted, 2015, p.30).

References

Forsyth, A. and Furlong, A. (2003). Losing out? 1st ed. Bristol, UK: Policy Press.

Ofqual (2016). Assessment objectives for new GCSEs, AS and A levels - Publications - GOV.UK. [online] Gov.uk. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/assessment-objectives-ancient-languages-geography-and-mfl [Accessed 30 Nov. 2016].

OFSTED (2015). Better inspection for all - Consultations - GOV.UK. [online] Gov.uk. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/better-inspection-for-all [Accessed 30 Nov. 2016].