Ofqual, the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation, faced a critical challenge regarding their “objectivity in assessment” guidance. With the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and the need for teacher-assessed grades for the second consecutive year, Ofqual recognised the importance of refining their guidance. They had previously issued objectivity guidance to teachers to mitigate unconscious bias, and they sought an external partner to critically review and enhance it from a psychology and bias perspective.
In response to Ofqual’s specific requirements, we devised a targeted solution, spearheaded by our Head of Psychology. This encompassed a thorough one-day review and revitalisation of the existing Ofqual guidance document. We created a fresh version of the guidance document, thoughtfully incorporating recommended enhancements while ensuring that it maintains a similar length to the current document (approximately 6 pages in total). We combined our deep-seated expertise in behavioural psychology, educational assessment, and meticulous document evaluation. Our ultimate aim was to safeguard the enduring effectiveness, accessibility, and alignment of Ofqual’s guidance with the overarching objective of fostering objectivity within the teacher-assessed grading process for qualifications in 2021.
Although a relatively modest undertaking, the impact of this project was significant:
1) The revised objectivity guidance is now prominently featured on the Ofqual website.
2) It has been disseminated to educators across the United Kingdom, offering crucial support in the fair and unbiased grading of students during the second year of the pandemic.
Notably, the document received recognition during a BBC Woman’s Hour show by Richard Sheriff, Executive Headteacher of Harrogate Grammar School and President of the Association of School and College Leaders. He praised the guidance, affirming its value in ensuring fair assessment practices during challenging times.
This case study underscores our commitment to collaborating with organisations like Ofqual to enhance assessment practices and promote fairness in education, especially during times of unprecedented challenges.
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