Edexcel


Edexcel

Infobox Organization
name = Edexcel


size = 129px
formation = 1996
purpose = Examination board
headquarters = London, UK
region_served = England, Wales and Northern Ireland
parent_organization = Pearson
website = [http://www.edexcel.org.uk/ www.edexcel.org.uk]

Edexcel is a London-based for-profit company and one of England, Wales and Northern Ireland's five main examination boards. The others are AQA, OCR, the Welsh Joint Education Committee, and the CCEA. Its name is a portmanteau word derived from the words "educational" and "excellence". Edexcel offers a variety of qualifications, including A-levels (GCEs), GCSEs and the BTEC suite of vocational qualifications. It is an international organisation, awarding over 1.5 million certificates to students around the world every year.fact|date=June 2008 It held the responsibility of the marking of the UK SAT Assements until 2008 when ETS Europe was given the contract.

History

Edexcel was formed in 1996 by the merger of two bodies, the BTEC (Business & Technology Education Council) and ULEAC (University of London Examinations and Assessment Council). In 2003, the Edexcel Foundation (the charity which managed the board) formed a partnership with Pearson PLC to set up a new company called London Qualifications Ltd, which was 75% owned by Pearson and 25% by the Edexcel Foundation. London Qualifications Limited changed its name to Edexcel Limited in November 2004.

In 2005 Edexcel became the only large examination board to be held in private hands, when Pearson PLC took complete control. Edexcel subsequently received investment from their new parent company.

In 2003, it introduced an onscreen marking system, ePen, which Edexcel claims has brought dramatic benefits. ePen has produced rich student performance data, at question level, which Edexcel has made available to schools through its Results Analysis Service (RAS) and forms the basis of a new service to schools and students - ResultsPlus.

Diploma in digital applications

Edexcel's modernisation has led to the development of a suite of four new 'paperless' qualifications:
* AiDA (Award in Digital Applications, equivalent to one GCSE)
* CiDA (Certificate in Digital Applications, equivalent to two GCSEs)
* CiDA+ (Extended Certificate in Digital Applications, equivalent to three GCSEs)
* DiDA (Diploma in Digital Applications, equivalent to four GCSEs)

These 'paperless' qualifications are primarily designed to redress the perceived imbalance between those skills learnt in the classroom and the resulting application in the workplace. The new qualifications are designed to develop more practical skills while promoting independent learning and colour-coding skills.

BTEC

BTECs are a vocational qualification that are now exclusively offered by Edexcel. BTECs range from Entry Level to Level 8 (graduate level) on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF), offering a progression route across all levels, starting with BTEC Firsts and Nationals as GCSE and A level equivalents. They are developed in consultation with industry and professionals, with the aim of being relevant, progressive and recognised by professional bodies, employers and universities.

They are a growing qualification in schools and are said to have high acceptance by employers. In 2005/06, 260,000 students studied BTECs at college; 63,000 studied BTECs in schools; 23,000 studied BTECs at University; and 14,000 employees studied a BTEC while at work.

BTECs aim to provide a more practical, real-world approach to learning and skills development alongside a key theoretical background.

As part of the Revision of QCA Science at GCSE, Edexcel created a vocational qualification in Science with GCSE equivalence. Students are assessed with assignments and practical exams.

GCSE

Edexcel offer a large number of GCSE courses of which many are popular with UK schools. Many subjects are modular meaning they can be taken at any exam point in the course. For example; in GCSE Religious Studies, candidates can take Paper 1 at the end of year one of study (normally Year 10) and Paper two at the end of year two of study. Edexcel also offers non-coursework options on most courses, with increased examination in areas. Edexcel in 2006 revised its GCSE Science courses following the QCA new criteria - this saw more emphasis on How Science Works and has now incorporated more practical examination, some of which in the classroom. Edexcel also offer new two-tier Mathematics, which led to the creation of a popular Modular Course.

In 2007, Edexcel started a new science course, consisting of: six multiple choice exams, twelve modules and a practical.

Controversy

In 2002 Edexcel was criticized for errors on an exam paper and failing to notify candidates and invigilators when it was discovered. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/1771461.stm Examiners knew about maths error] ] The answer sheet for an AS-Level mathematics paper contained different numbers to the exam question, making some questions impossible to answer correctly. It was detected eight hours before the exams started in the UK, by a school in Hong Kong which immediately informed Edexcel. However Edexcel allowed the exams in Europe and the UK to continue without alerting the candidates or invigilators. During the marking process compensation was given to candidates by giving credit to those who had used either the figures on the question paper or on the answer sheet.

Further controversy followed in 2005 when an investigation by "The Times Educational Supplement" revealed that scores as low as 16% could lead to a 'C' grade in Mathematics [ [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,591-1772007,00.html Call for a GCSE shake-up as pass mark sinks to 16%] ] , and that some exam scripts were marked by university graduates, including Edexcel administration staff, rather than teachers [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/4172812.stm Admin staff 'marking GCSE papers'] ] . In 2008 it emerged in Private Eye that Edexcel had mistakenly hired a 16 year old student to mark GCSEsfact|date=June 2008.

References

External links

* [http://www.edexcel.org.uk/ Edexcel website]
* [http://www.examzone.co.uk/ Edexcel's student website]


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