Chief Executive Officer's Message (October 2021)

This month, the National Association of Examinations Officers, with the support of The Exams Office, launched its National Exams Officer Survey for the 2021/22 academic year.

The annual survey is a key pillar in identifying the issues faced by the exams officer community, from which the NAEO can devise its strategy to attempt to address and resolve some of the challenges faced by exams officers working in centres.

In previous years, The Exams Office has taken responsibility for the annual survey, and whilst their assistance in promoting this to exams officers within their member centres remains pivotal, the NAEO will assume the role of analysing the responses and informing the exams officer community and key stakeholders of outcomes and possible next steps – all of which will determine the areas on which the NAEO will focus on in the coming months.

As we emerge from the pandemic, it is imperative that we assess the impact the last 18 months has had on the exams officer community and identify the key issues which need to be addressed, moving forward. Anecdotal evidence suggests that, not only have a significant number of exams officers left the profession resulting in a higher-than-average number of inexperienced new-to-role exams officers, but many of those who remain in role have been required to take on additional roles within their centre due to the absence of a summer exams series since 2019.

Although there is an understandable desire for a return to a semblance of ‘business as usual’ for the 2021/22 academic year, it must be recognised that, with regard to examinations and assessments, this will prove challenging for even the most experienced colleagues let alone those who have not previously completed a summer exams series. The introduction of a significant number of new to role exams officers may not only pose serious challenges in the management, administration and conducting of examinations and assessments, but it also threatens to increase the likelihood of malpractice, maladministration, or administrative failures.

If the data collected from the National Exams Officer Survey confirms the issues detailed above, then these will need to be addressed as a matter of urgency. Fortunately, in my dealings with the JCQ and the major awarding bodies, I have witnessed a strong desire to engage with, and support, the exams officer community and to work with the NAEO to help address the issues faced by exams officers at centre level. Therefore, we will be sharing the outcomes of the survey with key stakeholders, including the DfE and Ofqual, whilst also publishing and analysing your responses via the NAEO website and presenting these at The Exams Office National Conferences which take place in January and February of next year.

I urge all exams officers to complete this year’s survey to ensure that not only are their voices heard, but that they are helping to raise the status and profile of the exams officer community.

Participants can opt in to be entered into a free prize draw for either a high street voucher or a luxury hamper.

Jugjit Chima

Chief Executive Officer, National Association of Examinations Officers

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