Schools, colleges and children's services – research and analysis

Public perceptions of reliability in exam results in England

This report describes a study into understanding the general public's attitude to uncertainty in public exam results.


A Quantitative Investigation into Public Perceptions of Reliability in Examination Results in England

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This report describes a study of the opinions of nearly 900 people who filled in an on-line questionnaire about their attitudes to the public exam system in England (GCSEs, vocational qualifications and A levels). Some people were asked in small groups what they understood by error in public exams, and what might be done about it.

The topics targeted in the questionnaire were:

  • the level of public confidence in the national exam system
  • the factors influencing students’ performances in exams
  • the factors creating uncertainty in the results
  • the public’s attitudes to different types of assessment error
  • and ways of improving the reliability of exams.

The questionnaire also included some questions about the participants’ levels of trust in general. The report describes the findings of the three main types of respondents - teachers, students and employers.