What is OFQUAL?
OFQUAL refers to the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation, a regulating body for tests, assessments, and/or exams across England. This organization also covers regulations on vocational testing in Northern Ireland.
Specifically, OFQUAL is tasked to implement regulations and conduct assessments and tests for students starting from the EYFS stage or the Early Years Foundation Stage for 5 year olds, to testing vocational qualifications for teens and young adults. OFQUAL is also in-charge with conducting testing at the end of each stage of National Curriculum, all A level stages, GCSEs, NVQs, and the Diploma. Basically, this regulating body on testing covers almost all stages of the educational system in the UK, with the exception of degrees in universities, which are regulated by another agency, called Quality Assurance Agency.
Based on the Apprenticeship, Skills, Children and Learning Act of 2009, which was passed in the UK Congress, OFQUAL became the official organization tasked to regulate qualifications/tests in England. It is also tasked to ensure that high standards are promoted and maintained across all educational institutions and certificate-awarding organizations in England. The organization is also tasked to increase awareness on the established qualification systems and that people may also have increased confidence on this particular system.
In the National Curriculum and EYFS program for example, OFQUAL regularly reviews standards and guidelines to ensure that quality assessment is done during the child’s early years up to his or her adolescent years. In terms of GCSE or General Certificate of Secondary Education meanwhile, OFQUAL provides the criteria to organizations that award these certificates to follow certain specifications and standards. And aside from its involvement in setting up the criteria, OFQUAL also provides the standard structure of assessment and grading system for all subjects under GCSE.
Though OFQUAL is a government-sponsored organization, it is not directly controlled by it. OFQUAL reports to the parliament though for program assessments.