Exam boards are always competing with each other to get the best test results so more schools will buy their companies test papers. But is this competition making exams unfair?

Currently the regulator of all exam boards in the UK is by the Office of the Regulators of Qualifications (Ofqual). There are now 5 examination boards offering GCSEs, which are Assessment and Qualifications Alliance (AQA), Oxford Cambridge and RSA Examinations (OCR), Edexcel, Welsh Joint Education Committee (WJEC) and the Council for the Curriculum, Examination & Assessment (CCEA).

In the last few years there have been many occasions where the Department for Education have reported major exam boards were attempting to win business from schools by promoting GSCEs as more accessible to other rival boards. Is this an effect from all the different boards being so competitive just to make more profit than other companies in the business?

But the most well known scandal that shocked many and was on the front page of many leading newspapers was when the WJEC chief examiners were caught in film telling teachers what will be on the next years GCSE history paper. An investigator from the Telegraph revealed exam boards were cheating by helping teachers at secretive coaching seminars, which cost hundreds of pounds to attend.

When questioned about the subject Florence Cesa said ‘I don’t think it is fair that there are several different exam bored because its difficult to know the students or someone’s capacity and intelligent if the exam boards vary in so many different types. I think there should be no more than hence why I don’t think students should have the choice to what test paper they want to take as I said there should be one test paper for every student to be fair. I don’t think the continuing change of exam rules is annoying in terms of information included to the new specifications because as we all know the universe is changing and evolving quite quickly. Some people may argue this but I also think exam boards should be more generous.’ Florence’s view is valid to most students who are doing their GCSE exams now and later next year. Iman Toxow, who is another students who is due to take her GSCEs in the next couple of years said, ‘I think there should be one exam board for every single student in the country. It’s not fair that one exam board has really high grade boundaries whilst other has very low grade boundaries. This would means that if two students had the same mark on different test papers, one might get a higher grade than the other. Also, some questions might be easier on certain exam boards, so students can score higher. It isn’t fair that they change the rules either, because children born a couple of months before another can have a less harsh GSCE specification and more chances to retake exams where they haven’t achieved their predicted or hoped grades. It is really unfair that you don’t get the same test just because they are older? Yet, age discrimination is a major problem in the work industry and now clearly its an issue in education.’ Personally I believe exam boards should all combine together and form a massive company where the best board at each subject get to use their question style rather than many separate exam boards and exam criteria. Also if there was only one board, marking papers will be so much easy and efficient as papers aren't sent to various companies but to one.

Therefore having several exam boards means teenagers and the future generation will be affected both mentally, socially and economically as they will constantly be referred to by their GSCE results and remember the way they were discriminate and segregated because of their age, also their GCSEs play a vital role in predicting the economical margin the are going to be in due to the fact that they will determine the variety of occupational opportunities they will have.