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Ofqual publishes annual survey of public attitudes to GCSEs and A levels

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Ofqual has today (Friday, May 3) published the findings of its annual survey on public perceptions of GCSEs, A levels and other qualifications. The survey also asked questions about people’s perceptions of Ofqual.

Surveys were conducted in England with the general public, parents, students, teachers and headteachers (carried out by Ipsos MORI) and employers and Higher Education Institutions (carried out by Opinion Leader Research).

The surveys took place towards the end of 2012. The results are published in three documents: a summary report (produced by Ofqual); Perceptions of teachers and the general public; and Perceptions of employers and Higher Education Institutions. They are available on the www.ofqual.gov.uk website.

Main findings include:

  • Confidence in the A level system was high among all respondent groups.
  • Most respondent groups consider the GCSE a good qualification for students to obtain for their future.*
  • Confidence in the GCSE system was lower than for the A level system and particularly low among teachers and headteachers (55 and 56 per cent respectively) and smaller employers (55 per cent).
  • Concerns over quality of marking were expressed for both A levels and particularly GCSEs.
  • Results suggest that, to some extent, confidence in GCSEs has been affected by the concerns around GCSE English grading in 2012.
  • Awareness of Ofqual is growing slowly among respondents, however familiarity among the general public and employers is low.
  • At least half the general public considered that other academic qualifications, vocational qualifications and mixed qualifications are of equal value to traditional academic qualifications.

*This question was not asked to teachers or headteachers.

The research was carried out by Ipsos MORI and Opinion Leader Research.

Notes for Editors

  • For more information the media should contact the Ofqual press office on 0300 303 3342.
  • The reports can be found here.
  • Technical note: Ipsos MORI interviewed 3,213 members of the public, 416 parents and 254 students face-to-face and 600 teachers and 203 headteachers by telephone between November 2012 and January 2013. Opinion Leader Research interviewed 182 representatives in Higher Education Institutions and 500 employers by telephone between November 2012 and March 2013. All interviews were carried out in England.
  • Details of the methodology, including information about the numbers of people spoken to and so on, can be found in the report.