June 2014
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Gove may now take on the 'bridge too far' exam boards but not in time for new A level history

Gove shrank in the face of opposition from giants like Pearson when he scurrilously suggested the ending of exam board commercial competition and their monopoly of badged texts and CPD run by the examiners who write the books/exams/markschemes. I think he regretted the fact that he didn’t have the courage when he had the chance. Haunted by that thought he recently talked of coming back to that ‘bridge too far’. I for one would welcome that. As someone who has sent the last 2 days trying to fathom out the best exam spec for the new AS and A level history exams starting in September 2015 ( yes, just over a year away and still no final specs), I wd support him every step of the way if he abolished this ridiculous system. Why are examination officers in AQA spending hours writing a spec, specimen question papers, markschemes , schemes of work and resources lists at the same time as officers at EDEXCEL? It makes no sense. All that happens is that quality is diluted:too much expertise spread too thinly leading to mediocre questions and dull markschemes an even more tedious badged texts.In History in the Balance and later in OFQUAL commissioned investigations it has been proved that badged texts are bad for students’ intellectual health. So what happens: specs change;new books are written in a hurry and they are no better than their predecessors. Am I alone in thinking this is madness?

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