Joint Council for Qualifications
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The Joint Council for Qualifications, (commonly referred to as JCQ) is a council acting as a single voice for the six largest qualification providers in the UK offering GCSE, GCE, Scottish Highers and vocationally related qualifications: AQA, CCEA, Edexcel, OCR, SQA and WJEC. The JCQ closely monitors examination administration, invigilation of exams at individual schools and activities of exams officers.
The JCQ was established to unite to an extent the largest educational and vocational examination boards in the United Kingdom and to administer testing standards. The JCQ should not be confused with the government of the United Kingdom, which has the authority to regulate and accredit British examination boards. The JCQ was formed to enable member awarding bodies to act together in:
- providing, wherever possible, common administrative arrangements for the schools and colleges and other providers which offer their qualifications
- dealing with the regulators, in responding to proposals and initiatives on assessment and the curriculum
- dealing with the media on issues affecting all member bodies
- helping the awarding bodies to work together to create common standards, regulations and guidance
- helping them to regulate themselves against those agreed standards as well as monitoring any exceptions
- providing a forum for members to discuss issues, with each other and partner organisations and the regulators
- ensuring examinations are sat under consistent regulations
Regulations and examination practices
The JCQ provides rules and regulations concerning the exams. These include:
- Exam papers, secure downloads and on-screen tests should be kept in a secure storage facility, accessed only by the head of the examining centre or by the exams officer.
- Exams should start at 9:00 am for morning exams or 1:00 pm for afternoon exams, or at the awarding body's published start. time (if different). Exams shouldn't be started 30 minutes before or after the start time.
- Exam candidates must be supervised at all times, including if they have clashes, extra time or an earlier time.
- Calculators must not contain any electronic facilities prohibited by the board.
- All helpful material in the room must be removed, and a clock must be clearly visible to all candidates.
- All accessible exam help must take place separately, if it may help other candidates or disturb the environment.
- All candidates must be identified within the exam.
- Only official stationery and answer booklets may be used.
- No electronic or digital storage equipment can be used unless expressly stated on exam paper. This includes iPods and MP3/4 players, mobile phones and reading pens.
- Any such items taken into exam room must be at front of hall, or under candidate's desk at very least.
- Pencil cases must be transparent.
- Any food or drink must be clear of packaging and labels.
- Writing must be in black ink only.
- All work, including rough must be in the answer booklet and clearly labelled.
- Correcting pens, fluid and tape, erasable pens, reading pens and blotting paper are prohibited.
- Highlighters, gel pens and coloured ink/pencils must not be used for answers.
- Late candidates should be allowed to sit the exam, but a full report must be made if the candidate is more than one hour late.
- Malpractice is prohibited and should be reported to the board immediately. The available penalties are: a warning, disqualification from that unit, disqualification from that entire qualification, or a ban from sitting all exams for a set period of time.
- In the case of an emergency, candidates are to be escorted in silence to a safe location away from other candidates not sitting the exam.
Any malpractice, lateness of more than one hour, candidates leaving the exam early, or disturbances should be reported to the board. A candidate's exam papers may then be cancelled in that exam, subject, or whole series. It should be noted that British examination boards for GCSEs and GCE A-levels (i.e. AQA, Edexcel, OCR, WJEC, CCEA) are obliged to comply with JCQ's regulations as opposed to CIE (Cambridge International Examinations international GCSEs and GCE A-Levels.