Edexcel

From Academic Kids

Edexcel is a London-based organisation and one of England and Wales's four main examination boards. The others are AQA, OCR, and the WJEC. Its name is a portmanteau word derived from the words "educational" and "excellence". Edexcel offers a variety of qualifications to UK students, including A-levels and GCSEs. It also operates on an international level, awarding over 1.5 million certificates to students around the world every year.

Edexcel was formed in 1996 by the merger of two bodies, the BTEC (Business & Technology Education Council) and ULEAC (University of London Examinations and Assessment Council). In 2003, the Edexcel Foundation (a charity which managed the board) formed a partnership with Pearson PLC to set up a new company called London Qualifications Ltd, which was 75% owned by Pearson and 25% by the Edexcel Foundation. London Qualifications Limited (as of November 2004) has changed its name to Edexcel Limited.

Edexcel has suffered from a bad reputation for its service in the past. In the summer examinations of 2004, it was discovered that a number of Edexcel exam papers had been stolen before they were supposed to be taken, and that the papers were being sold to students for exorbitant amounts of money (up to 1,000 in some cases). Edexcel assured the public that it was implementing measures to identify cheats during the marking process, for example by identifying students who performed unexpectedly well in the stolen papers but not in their other exams, and that they would have their grades cancelled. Some students have referred to the board mockingly as 'Edex Hell', as on several occasions it has awarded unusually low grades which change dramatically when students ask for their exams to be regraded, although other exam boards have faced similar criticisms.

In 2005 Edexcel became the only large Examination board to be held in private hands, when Pearson PLC took complete control. Over the last 2 years there has been a turnaround in fortunes as Edexcel invests heavily in new technology.

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