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Gce Examinations

Volume 932: debated on Tuesday 17 May 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether she is satisfied with the present grading system for passes of O-level examinations.

The conduct of public examinations is in general a matter for the independent examining boards. The Schools Council is, however, responsible for advising the Secretary of State on major questions of examinations policy, as for example when changes in the grading system are envisaged. The present O-level grading system was introduced in 1975, on the Council's recommendation, and while there may initially have been some misunderstanding of the new grades among employers and others I know of no reason to suppose that this is still the case.

I thank the Minister for that reply. Is she not aware that many industrialists are confused by the various grades of O-level examination? Would it not be better for there to be a standard O-level examination to denote average accomplishment?

I doubt whether that proposal would be educationally supported. In any case, it is open to industrialists to ascertain what is the usual standard attained by these grades.

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Would you be good enough to use your influence with the Prime Minister to place in the Library every Tuesday and Thursday a list of his engagements, so that we can get rid of a lot of this rubbish on the Order Paper?

I shall undertake that if the hon. Gentleman undertakes to raise his points of order in future at the end of Questions.