In light of the UK education regulator Ofqual’s consultation on reform of the UK qualification system this awarding organisation (AO) wished to be able to respond appropriately by getting a better understanding of what customers in the various sectors value in this area, particularly in relation to those points which might be subject to change. The AO asked Shift Learning to investigate specifically the GCE sector in international markets and the needs and wants concerning these qualifications amongst stakeholders such as parents, students, universities, schools, and institutions including other regulatory bodies and the British Council, focusing in particular on the areas proposed for change.
Our approach and methodology
In order to reach the required stakeholder groups and to ensure that all opinions were taken into account for this project, Shift Learning employed a multi-method approach.
- An initial eSurvey was sent out to principals, heads of department and exams officers in schools and GCE centres across the globe to get an overall picture of the needs of the market.
- These findings were then cemented by hour-long in-depth telephone interviews with senior management and exams officers from 67 centres based in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe.
- The centres involved in the telephone interviews were subsequently asked to forward an eSurvey to their parents and students currently undertaking GCE qualifications.
- The final strand of this research involved further in-depth telephone interviews with individuals working in the exams departments of British Councils and National government organisations. Again these organisations were located across the globe and the interviews lasted for an hour.
The interviews were recorded and transcribed, and then analysed while our eSurvey work was carried out using SNAP. SNAP software gives us the opportunity to use sophisticated statistical analysis tools to create an attractive and accessible questionnaire online or on paper.
Delivering results and value to our client
Results were presented in PPT format, with each strand of research being presented in its own report. The work was then all pulled together into one overarching report where key themes and points of comparison were highlighted and recommendations made for the future development of the GCE qualifications internationally.
This research helped the awarding organisation to identify how GCE qualifications are perceived internationally as well as addressing several of the crucial issues raised by the Ofqual consultation surrounding GCE reform.