UK Essays response to Ofqual mystery shopping exercise
Prior to publication of Ofqual's latest report titled 'Mystery shopping exercise of web-sites that offer a range of ‘support services’ to students' UK Essays were provided with a draft copy for review. Our official response to this report is detailed below and includes:
1 - UK Essays Press Release
The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) has commissioned a report produced by consultancy London Economics on online student support services in which the services of UKEssays.com and All Answers Ltd have been tested and reviewed.
The report features two test purchases for A-level A grade example essays via UKEssays.com, and goes on to include details of the assessment of the essays produced and the external examiners’ feedback on the essays. All Answers Ltd welcomes the input of Ofqual and external assessment of our products; unfortunately though, the report London Economics has produced can only be described as fundamentally flawed.
“We are extremely disheartened and disappointed by the wholly inaccurate and presumptuous report published by Ofqual, and have no option but to refute a number of their conclusions”, explains All Answers Ltd CEO Tony Eynon. “Of particular note is a heavily biased focus against the student support industry and a narrow look at this segment of the market. The methodology of the paper is deeply flawed and inconsistent, using a prejudiced approach in marking the essays. Papers were not marked anonymously, and examiners were informed about the source of the essays prior to marking. There were also a number of incorrect assumptions and misinterpretations of our sales procedure.”
All Answers Ltd has prepared an official response which examines the fundamental flaws in the methodology of the paper produced and highlights the biased nature and errors within the paper.
Further to this, we have submitted a Freedom of Information (FoI) request to ascertain the exact amount London Economics have been paid to produce this report in what can only be described as a damning waste of taxpayer funds.
As evident by Ofqual’s own recent conclusions student support services and essay writing companies have no bearing on concerns from the general public or education sector relating to consumer confidence in the examination system. All Answers Ltd has been unable to reach a conclusion why this report has been produced, aside from being an attempt to distract the general public from the vast array of failures Ofqual are involved in.
All Answers Ltd would also like to take this opportunity to reaffirm our stance and willingness to have an open, clear and fruitful conversation about the student support service industry and its future.
2 - Statement from Tony Eynon, CEO of All Answers Ltd
This statement refers to the report 'Mystery shopping exercise of web-sites that offer a range of ‘support services’ to students', produced by London Economics for The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual).
The objective of the report seems to be aimed at discrediting the quality of our company's product in order to damage the public’s confidence in the industry with the end goal being to show that Ofqual’s standards are not being compromised.
At best the report is incompetent, and unfortunately at worst it is a pre-planned deceitful attempt to manipulate the public’s opinion for Ofqual’s own gain.
The nature of the errors strongly suggest that the report was biased from the beginning and there was no intention to give All Answers fair representation, therefore completely invalidating the worth of the report. One of the biggest errors came during the mystery shopping exercise. UK Essays were asked to complete the first half of a 2 part question only, and then during the marking process of the report this work was marked down because it was incomplete. I found it very fitting that the organisation famed for inconsistent and incompetent marking had just inconsistently and incompetently marked our essays down.
Another large issue is that the report writers gave the markers a preconceived notion by telling them the work in question had not been written by students, and that this was a malpractice investigation into essay writing companies. This loaded the markers with unnecessary knowledge for the marking process, and as a result I cannot accept that these comments provided were in any way accurate or unbiased.
The entire report is riddled with leading assumptions and negative language, and the entire scenario reeked of a honey-trap, particularly when viewing the online chat transcripts.
During this segment of the report, the writers entered into discussions with our customer service agents over our live website chat. What followed in the report however was blatantly misconstrued. The writers took the answer from one irrelevant question and then provided it as an answer to a different question asking if the work could be handed in directly. This is particularly poor behaviour for an academic report and very telling of the motives behind the report. I encourage any interested parties to read the chat transcripts in full and observe these (most likely deliberate) errors first-hand.
Another interesting point relates to the commission of the report itself. I find it very odd that Ofqual – an organisation whose job it is to “maintain standards and confidence in qualifications” found it necessary to commission London Economics (at no doubt great expense) to produce this report, for no given reason. We will be submitting a Freedom of Information request to ascertain the exact amount of taxpayer funds spent on this – an issue the public seemingly has no concern over whatsoever!
Ofqual in fact have recently published a directly contradictory report (“Perceptions of A Levels, GCSEs and Other Qualifications in England”) that highlights the fact that student support services or essay writing companies do not even make the list of reasons why confidence is falling in A Levels and GCSEs. In fact, the main reasons for loss of confidence are “constant change in the examination system” and “inconsistent and incorrect marking” – both factors Ofqual are in control of.
While some of my points are obviously tongue in cheek, I have genuinely found this report shocking. Not just because of the analytical errors within it, but because at face value it would appear that somebody, somewhere in Ofqual is prepared to fabricate a report to push a political agenda. I know this is nothing new, however when I see how hard everyone within our company works to maintain our exceptionally high standards it makes me want somebody held to account.
It should be noted that whilst Ofqual did offer us the opportunity to comment upon the report, we felt due to the heavily biased nature of it, any points we made directly would just ultimately be used against us.
3 - CEO FAQs
What services do you offer?
UK Essays offers student support services to a large array of individuals, stretching from GCSE to University level. We provide these services via model answer essays and an essay marking and proofreading service. With our model answer essay service, we produce bespoke pieces of research tailored exactly to the clients’ requirements. Our pieces are written by a matched expert in the relevant subject area, come fully referenced and are designed to be used as a tool in writing your own piece of work – they can be used as a guide to create work, or as a starting point for developing ideas. Most schools, colleges and universities hand out previous year’s pieces of work as examples to students, and our service is similar, but it provides tailored, individual support.
For our marking and proofreading service, students submit their completed (or near complete) work to us. An expert marker in their subject is then located, who will proofread the work, pointing out spelling and grammar mistakes that allow the student to learn from the repetitive errors. They will mark the work, and provide in depth comments on what is right, what is wrong, and what can be changed.
Coupled together, our services provide an unrivalled level of support for students that find themselves frequently let down by the educational system, who fail to gain the feedback, assistance and guidance they truly require.
Can it be handed in as the student's own work?
Work produced and purchased from UK Essays is not designed to be handed in, and at UK Essays, we actively discourage this behaviour. We truly believe that students need to complete work themselves to fully learn, understand and absorb the information on offer to them, and ordering a model answer does not mean this process should be skipped. Likewise, passing essays and coursework is by no means an indicator of overall success. Full comprehension of knowledge is vital to a successful academic career. Many support methods exist and like others, it is down to the individual user of the service to abuse or correctly use that service. All students should be encouraged – whatever support method they seek – to always complete their own work, engage with it fully, and learn as much as they can.
Who are your typical customers?
A good number of our customers are ESL (English Second Language). Sadly, many international students coming to this country to experience our fantastic educational system are rapidly let down by the lack of support on offer to them. They can quickly find themselves swimming in a mess of unfamiliar phrases and terms, with work mounting up and little or no support on offer to them.
Many ESL speakers can struggle to put their thoughts and ideas across, or to interpret their course material / lectures, particularly if new to English or to living in the country. I believe this is why these students choose to use a service like ours. With a model answer in front of them, it is a lot easier to understand how to structure work – academia is not always about finding the right answer, just about understanding the information you are being asked to learn.
Couple this with the fact that universities can waive the minimum standard of English requirements for international students, and it becomes apparent that universities are increasingly taking on these high fee paying international students with language constraints, and failing to provide the additional support they have been promised.
Alongside a high number of ESL students, we also have a good number of customers with what I would call typical ‘student issues’ - not knowing where to start writing, not knowing how to present their ideas clearly, or faced with mountains of material and not being clear what should be kept in or left out. Again, my feeling is that these students are lacking basic study skills - taking concise notes, evaluating material for its worth, thinking critically and objectively, constructing an argument etc. Often it is a big jump for many students from A-level to university level writing (in particular due to the disparate nature of A-level assessment throughout the country) - for example, many A level courses don't even require referencing, and students are then expected to make the jump with little to no support.
How many students do you help per year?
Last year we fulfilled a total of 10,756 orders. We did in fact receive 14,221 orders in total, but we can't always find researchers to complete them and we won’t take on work that we are not 100% confident in completing to standard. This year - to date - we have fulfilled 8,502 orders.
I am including in this figure orders for essays, dissertations and all other types of academic writing order - as we also supply business support and individual requests.
How many essays do you think might be being written by the industry each year in the UK?
We have 2 main competitors in the UK. Based on their accounts, I would estimate around 4,000 more are written in the UK per year. There are a number of additional small websites that likely have very little website traffic, so I don't believe they do very much business either.
However, there are many websites that claim to be UK-based but are not. As these are run by people in other parts of the world who aren’t required to provide any legitimate company information, we cannot estimate how much business these sites do. No doubt they attract a lot of UK students due to the low prices on offer, and sadly, our competitor analysis has shown that those students are likely to receive shoddy, plagiarised work that won't help them with their studies at all. We have provided a comprehensive report to the ASA on the main sites that are of concern to us (10th August 2012). We are not aware that any action has been taken against these websites.
What is your best selling product and what does it cost?
Our most popular essay product is 1500 words, undergraduate 2:1 level, on a standard 7 day delivery. This carries a cost of £195.
Our most popular dissertation product is 5250 words, undergraduate 2:1 level, on a standard 9 day delivery. This carries a cost of £649.
How can you guarantee the quality of your work?
The quality of the work we supply is guaranteed by our all-encompassing quality process and stringent writer procedures.
Firstly, the writers we hire are always professionally qualified and are only ever assigned work directly in their area of study. To become a writer for us, you must hold a minimum of an undergraduate 2:1 degree, and be able to prove your skills as a writer before being assigned work. All our writers are assessed prior to acceptance to ensure their English spelling & grammar skills are exceptional.
Secondly, all writers are matched to work by our in-house delegations team, who carefully review the request for work and select the most appropriate writer for the order.
Finally, the most important step occurs. Once the work is complete, it undergoes our extensive quality process. The work is fully read and checked by our in-house quality team, who are all degree qualified, and assess the work to ensure it is to the standard required. Alongside this, we provide a plagiarism scan using Viper, our own in-house scanning software. The customer then is supplied with their order, a detailed quality report, and plagiarism scan.
How can you ensure your work is plagiarism free?
As stated above, all work we have produced by our writers is not only extensively checked by the quality team, but it is also scanned using Viper. This software was developed by UK Essays in house after we decided existing scanners were not satisfactory for our use. We developed Viper to make sure every piece of work we provide is verified by ourselvess. Every order placed receives a free Viper scan to show the results in detail.
Would you work with educational bodies to combat plagiarism?
We would be delighted to partner with educational bodies and have proposed this in the past. We would be looking to enter into a direct partnership between participating universities and ourselves.
Should the time come, we would create a separate service which colleges and universities would support. In return, we would submit each essay sold from our new service to our own plagiarism scanner (or TurnItIn if necessary), allowing educational bodies to scan against the database and ensure no plagiarism has occurred. In exchange for us submitting the full essays to be scanned, the colleges and universities must acknowledge us a legitimate source of academic help that cannot be abused under this relationship.
We strongly believe that, as the vast majority of students use our services legitimately, then this final stamp of approval from the universities would make a stronger business model than what currently stands, and so over time we would most likely look to shift our entire focus to this set up.
This is a two-way situation - we need buy-in before we would invest resources into it however, this is very much a desired advancement of the industry from our point of view. We used to push this proposal a lot - however, frankly we grew bored of being demonised with door-after-door being shut. It seems that the idea is far too radical for most traditional academics to even consider.
4 - Ofqual Report Critique
The stated purpose of the report commissioned by Ofqual is to investigate the feasibility of 'buying' grades at GCSE and A-Level - in part to reassure students, parents, and teachers as to the robustness of the Ofqual grading system, and in greater part to actively discourage students from utilising such support services.
Our critique can be downloaded here.
The ‘mystery shop’ commissioned by Ofqual and undertaken by London Economics comprised the purchase of two essays at A grade (one in English language, and one in History) from three custom essay providers. The mystery shop also incorporated an assessment of before and after sales service utilising live chat facilities with all three providers.
Assessment of Quality
Even a cursory overview of the Ofqual report indicates a number of glaring errors and contradictions, and in-depth assessment reveals a number of particularly concerning elements, including a flawed methodology, false and unfounded accusations, internal contradictions and poor quality marking (something Ofqual already have a reputation for).
Flawed Methodology – Example 1: Having commissioned the essays, Ofqual then passed them over to internal markers asking them to grade and critique the pieces. Prior to marking all of the markers were advised that the work constituted “malpractice”, and indeed one of the questions which markers were asked to respond to was: “If you were unaware of this malpractice work, would you be able to tell whether a teacher had written this essay?” By deliberately positioning the work as “malpractice” it should not be surprising to note that markers were then actively looking to mark negatively, something which Ofqual are at great pains to advise students that they do not encourage1. Furthermore, all of the markers commented on the quality and sophistication of writing in general, with one marker suggesting that:
“I might have been harsh in my assessments and others may feel that the sophisticated and broadly well-structured nature of the response deserves greater credit”.
Flawed Methodology – Example 2: It is a concern that there appears to be some discrepancy between the request given to UKessays, and the marking structure which was handed to the markers by London Economics. For example, in the history essay, UKessays were only asked to complete the first part of a 2-stage assignment. The external marker used by London Economics was asked to assess both parts, and obviously as the latter element was not present, the marker criticised accordingly. At best this is simply an oversight on the part of London Economics, but given the aim and objectives of their report this casts further doubt on the methodology and rigour of their approach.
False and Unfounded Accusations – Example 1: The report acknowledged the depth of interaction between London Economics and the organisations in question. However, the tone throughout the report was biased and accusatory. The language used was consistently negative, and selective editing of transcripts can only be interpreted as a deliberate attempt to mislead. This is a practice which should never be encouraged in academic writing itself. Examples of this were found in the live chat transcripts where it was made clear by UK Essays that model answers are intended as a guideline and not for direct submission. An excerpt from the report paired with the actual transcript demonstrates this:
Chat Transcript Example
2.1.8 Straight hand in
Finally, in this part of the mystery shopping exercise, we asked providers about whether it would be possible to hand the essay straight into the marker/teacher. The answers in this respect were slightly ambiguous, with XXX indicating that it was the decision of the individual – but that a lot of students do so, while UK Essays indicated that the essay/coursework provided would act as a guide to the student’s own work, but that the essay would be 100% finished and fully referenced etc (implying that the essay could be handed straight in [A1] ).
From the transcript...
Customer: I have a History A level essay to submit relatively soon - can you help?
Jodie: Yes we can :) We offer a range of services including a custom writing service, where one of our expert researchers in your niche area can write an answer for you so you can see how it's done and use it as a guide for your own work. All our custom written essays come as a fully referenced, 100% finished piece tailored to your specific requirements. Does this sound like something that would help you?
Unfortunately, selective editing in the main body of the report does not make this clear. The report also fails to include the internal quality control reports which highlight the positive and negative aspects of the work in a balanced manner, with constructive suggestions for improvement prior to releasing the work to the client.
False and Unfounded Accusations – Example 2: The Ofqual report also challenges the qualifications of the writers who completed the work. In fact, one of the writers in question actually holds a PhD, something which UK Essays are happy to provide proof of (subject to Data Projection). Ironically, it’s more likely that UK Essays’ writers are better qualified than the writers of the Ofqual report itself.
Internal Contradictions and Poor Quality Marking: Ofqual recently published another report2, aimed at restoring confidence in their marking procedures. Entitled “Perceptions of A Levels, GCSEs and Other qualifications in England” the report sought to emphasise the quality and academic rigour of Qfqual as a regulatory body. It is useful to highlight two points in particular:
On p10: "“Inconsistent marking” of exam papers and “inconsistent grading” were the main reasons why respondents believed Ofqual to be ineffective at maintaining standards.
Inconsistent and biased marking is certainly evident in the commissioned report; and
On p22: On the survey used, none of the respondents were at all asked if "student support services" had any effect on their concerns about the A-Level examination system.
In which case, why seek to attack and denigrate one specific aspect of student support, unless it is a thinly veiled attempt to divert attention away from their own well-documented failings?
UK Essays has a comprehensive commitment to providing model answers. These are not, and never have been, intended as substitutes for personal study. Model answers do not hold themselves out to be anything other than that. A guideline for students who find that they are struggling to interpret sources without unintentionally plagiarising – which is something that schools and universities do not actually teach. In these instances who else should a student turn to, other than trusted external providers? The craft of academic writing takes time and practice to perfect, and given that in the vast majority of educational establishments model answers from previous years are regularly distributed for guidance, it becomes increasingly difficult to understand the point of this report. Educators themselves teach by example, and the practice of working from previous essays to offer structure and support to students is widespread.
In light of sustained critique of Ofqual and its own capability (or inability) to mark large numbers of exam transcripts at peak periods it is understandable that they would wish to reaffirm their professionalism and capability in the marketplace. Unfortunately, the way they chose to do this was by seeking to undermine a particular segment of the secondary market of student support services, which encompasses a much broader remit including personal tutors, help guides, and informal coaching and mentoring. This divisive technique is reminiscent of politicians seeking to divert attention away from their own failings.
The only logical conclusion to draw from the report is that it is an attempt to discredit and undermine an industry that is a source of help and support for many students, and the practice of seeking external support for academic endeavours is far from novel. Surely it would be better to acknowledge that different people learn in different ways, and by providing as much support and help to students as possible, using a range of sources and methods, this is a much better use of public funds.
Stewart, W., (11th Sep 2012) Pressure builds on Ofqual after leaked letters reveal it overruled 'fair' GCSE grades [online] available at http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storyCode=6289695 retrieved 28th Sep 2014.
Ofqual (Sep 2014) Perceptions of A Levels, GCSEs and Other Qualifications in England [online] available at http://ofqual.gov.uk/documents/perceptions-of-a-levels-gcses-and-other-qualifications/ retrieved 28th Sep 2014.
5 - Annotated copy of the original report
You can view our annotated copy of the original report here. Our comments provide detailed section by section feedback highlighting issues and weaknesses of the report.
6 - Ofqual Timeline of Failures
This essay will consider the role of Ofqual and a number of controversies that have dogged its running since its inception in 2010. First, an overview of Ofqual will be provided. Second, a review will be made of the most significant features in its operation in the previous four years. Finally a timeline will be provided, identifying the problems it has faced.
Ofqual is the regulating body for qualifications, tests and exams in England. Its professed aim is to ‘maintain standards and confidence in qualifications’ (Ofqual, 2014a, n.p.). It was formed by an Act of Parliament in 2009. It is governed by a board, with Amanda Speilman as the Chairwoman, since 2010. The Chief Regulator has been Glenys Stacey since 2011 (Ofqual, 2014c). It was founded as an independent administrative body, and, as such, reports to Parliament rather than to departmental ministers (Ofqual, 2014c).
Since its inception, Ofqual has been subjected to a number of controversial incidents. The most significant of these is the crisis surrounding the marking of English GCSE exams in 2012 (Telegraph, 2012). This crisis, its underlying causes, and its subsequent handling by Ofqual demonstrated some significant problems faced by the regulatory body. In summer 2012, it was claimed that grade boundaries had been raised for the same exams between January and June of that year in response to political pressure to ensure that exams were not seen to be easier every year (Telegraph, 2012). Ofqual’s response was that the framework of the exams had been changed and overenthusiastic marking by teachers in modular assessments was to blame for the result. This was vigorously denied by the teachers, and it was argued that Ofqual was attempting to shift the blame for this problem (Telegraph, 2012). This, combined with problems encountered in examinations in 2011, and the perception that Ofqual was bowing to governmental pressure to prevent grade inflation means most professional teacher organisations appear to have little confidence in this organisation (HMC, 2014).
A second problem that emerged as a result of this crisis is the production of evidence that Ofqual was aware of the problems with assessment as early as 2009, yet failed to act despite this being within its remit (TES, 2012). This was argued to demonstrate uncertainty by Ofqual concerning the role that was expected of the organisation. As a result the organisation has now taken a more active role, publishing reports that call for more effective exam marking, and redistributing the grading boundaries (Ofqual, 2014d).
The third criticism concerning how Ofqual has performed has been in its response to crises. For example, after the problems with the grade boundaries of August 2012, the organisation launched an investigation (Ofqual, 2014d). As the organisation was implicated in the problems facing grading boundaries, this essentially seems to mean that it has investigated itself for its own problems, and it would seem unsurprising that the published result was to lay the blame squarely at the over-marking by teachers. Given that the teachers involved had been moderated, and that moderation had failed to detect significant over-marking, the evidence that this is based on seems at least questionable (Coughlan, 2012).
Finally, Ofqual has sought to maintain transparency as one of its key values (Ofqual, 2014a). However, when Freedom of Information Act requests have been submitted, there has been scant evidence provided (McInerney, 2012; Carpen, 2012). This undermines the accountability that can be expected of a public body.
In conclusion, although much of Ofqual’s role appears to be satisfactory, it is less than ideal that the independent regulating body for all examinations in England and Wales should lose the support of the teachers in these countries (TES, 2012). It is problematic that the independent body should be taken to High Court by a consortium of teachers and pupils (BBC, 2013). Finally, it seems inexcusable that the independent accountability and high standards to which this body should be held to seems compromised by limited transparency and apparent attempts at blame-shifting.
27 September 2007: It is announced that responsibility for exam regulation would move from the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority to a new independent regulator (Ofqual, 2014c).
8 April 2008: Interim work begins with the new administrator (Ofqual, 2014c).
1 April 2010: Ofqual is officially established (Ofqual, 2014c).
June 2011: Maths papers are found to contain the same questions as used in an earlier paper, Physics held unanswerable questions and Latin papers referred to the wrong piece of prose (Loveys, 2011).
23 August 2012: English exam crisis, where grade boundary changes appearing to have risen between January and June. Ofqual claims that the grade boundaries have been constant with the previous year, and that the problems were caused by changes to the modular assessment of GCSEs (Telegraph, 2012). A quarter of schools in England and Wales had been held to have been affected (TES, 2012). It is claimed that pressure to avoid grade inflation had led Ofqual to change grade boundaries (Henshaw, 2012).
31 August 2012: It is reported that Ofqual identified a significant problem that led to the grade boundaries being changed in English GCSE in 2009, but had failed to act (TES, 2012).
September 2012: The Welsh Assembly government regrades the papers in Wales, a move which Ofqual’s chairwoman Amanda Spielman suggests to a Parliamentary Committee took place because of a ‘political difficulty of students in Wales under-performing compared to their counterparts in England’ (Evans, 2014, n.p.) This is argued to undermine the political impartiality of Ofqual (Evans, 2014).
September 2012: Despite assurance to the Parliamentary Select Committee that all information such as emails, telephone calls, and other communication held by Ofqual at the time of the GCSE fiasco would be released under Freedom of Information Act requests, a subsequent request was only given a small number of emails, with substantial levels of information removed from the information provided (McInerney, 2012; Carpen, 2012). This is in contravention of its claim to ‘transparency’ (Ofqual, 2014b).
November 2012: Ofqual’s report into the change in grades is published and suggests that teachers had engaged in significant over-marking. However, this is contested by schools that claimed that moderators had found that fewer than 5% of the assessments in English required adjustment (Coughlan, 2012).
11 December 2012: Ofqual insists that grade boundaries in the English GCSE had been moved ‘in response to teachers significantly over-marking controlled assessment papers’ (BBC, 2012, n.p.).
13 February 2013: The High Court rules that the changes in the GCSE results boundaries may have been unfair on the pupils but that this was not unlawful. However, it accepts that Ofqual changed the boundaries between the January and June exams, despite Ofqual’s assertion to the contrary in August 2012 (BBC, 2013).
10 June 2013: The Commons Education Select Committee criticises Ofqual for their role in the English GCSE 2012 grade boundary fiasco. It is argued that problems with the design of modules were known to cause problems but Ofqual failed to act (Adams, 2013).
10 June 2013: HMC, a leading Independent Schools’ organisation, stated ‘we are not convinced enough has been done... by Ofqual... to ensure that pupils from all schools... will be treated fairly or justly’ (HMC, 2013, n.p.).
12 September, 2014: Ofqual announces a new nine-point numerical system to replace the eight-point grading system from 2017. The move is criticised as simply resulting in harder exams rather than higher standards (Paton, 2014).
23 September, 2014: Leighton Andrews reveals that the head of Ofqual, Glenys Stacey, considered apologising for the 2012 English GCSE debacle. Stacey claims it was for criticising the move to a Parliamentary Select Committee (Evans, 2014).
Adams, R. (2013). MPs Criticise Ofqual over GCSE English debacle, The Guardian, http://www.theguardian.com/education/2013/jun/11/mps-criticise-ofqual-gcse [retrieved 24th September, 2014].
BBC, (2012). GCSE English grades ‘statistical fix’ High Court told. http://www.bbc.com/news/education-20664793 [retrieved 24th September, 2014].
BBC, (2013). Court rejects bid to overturn GCSE grades, BBC News, http://www.bbc.com/news/education-21426396 [retrieved 24th September, 2014].
Carpen, A. (2012). Request for Information, https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/126849/response/314851/attach/3/F%20118%20A%20Carpen.pdf [retrieved 24th September, 2014].
Coughlan, S. (2012). Heads doubt Ofqual’s claims on GCSE English, BBC News, http://www.bbc.com/news/education-20213159 [retrieved 24th September, 2014].
Evans, G. (2014). England exam regulator Ofqual denies claims it considered apologising over the 2012 GCSE grading fiasco. Walesonline, [retrieved 24th September, 2014].
Henshaw, P. (2012). Ofqual should be ashamed of its report into the GCSE scandal, SecEd, http://www.sec-ed.co.uk/blog/ofqual-should-be-ashamed-of-its-report-into-the-gcse-scandal [retrieved 24th September, 2014].
HMC, (2013). HMC Response to Ofqual Review of Marking, http://www.hmc.org.uk/hmc-response-to-ofqual-review-of-marking/ [retrieved 24th September, 2014].
Loveys, K. (2011). New GCSE blunder leaves exams in crisis as thousands of pupils face old Maths questions, Daily Mail, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2006344/GCSE-maths-fiasco-Exam-board-caught-using-old-questions-mistakes-emerge.html [retrieved 24th September, 2014].
McInerney, L. (2012). Ofqual: We will publish all correspondence. We have nothing to hide... (Really?), http://lauramcinerney.com/2012/09/23/ofqual-gcse-reform-fiasco-glenys-stacey-foi-nothing-to-hide-publish-correspondence/ [retrieved 24th September, 2014].
Ofqual (2014a). About us. http://ofqual.gov.uk/about-us/ [retrieved 24th September, 2014].
Ofqual, (2014b). http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/http://www.ofqual.gov.uk/about-us/91-articles/139-our-history-and-formation [retrieved 24th September, 2014].
Ofqual, (2014c). Our Board, http://ofqual.gov.uk/about-us/our-board/ [retrieved 24th September, 2014].
Ofqual, (2014d). Our report calls for better examinations marking system, http://ofqual.gov.uk/news/report-calls-better-examinations-marking-system/ [retrieved 25th September, 2014].
Paton, G. (2014). GCSE Grading System to be toughened up, says Ofqual, The Telegraph, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/11090759/GCSE-grading-system-to-be-toughened-up-says-Ofqual.html [retrieved 24th September, 2014].
Stewart, W. (2012). Ofqual flagged grading issue three years ago, Times Education Supplement, http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6287754 [retrieved 24th September, 2014].
The Telegraph, (2012). GCSE Results 2012: Row Erupts over marking of English exam papers, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/secondaryeducation/9494605/GCSE-results-2012-row-erupts-over-marking-of-English-exam-papers.html [retrieved 24th September, 2014].