Quality assurance and standards report on 2020 year of upheaval published by the NCTJ

The NCTJ’s annual quality assurance and standards report has been published on the charity’s website today.

The report is compiled to help explain the work of the committee to oversee quality, standards and fairness across all qualifications and services.

It provides information and data related to standardisation, customer service, equal opportunities, reasonable adjustments and special considerations, appeals, exam incidents and malpractice and maladministration.

The report also covers the NCTJ’s compliance to its awarding organisation regulators for qualifications and apprenticeships.

In an extraordinary and unprecedented year, the report describes the NCTJ’s coronavirus contingency planning and how it pioneered the offer of remote exams.

Sean Dooley, who chairs the NCTJ’s quality assurance and standards committee, noting in the report the scale of upheaval in NCTJ operations, said: “Record figures for the delivery of remote examinations tell their own story of immense technical and administrative accomplishment. Substantial expansion in remote exam placements were organised and steered through consultation, technology trials and validation in a matter of weeks, and implemented without impact on rigour and standards.

“For the NCTJ team, the true reflection of their effort lay in keeping faith with the student body. Though pandemic restrictions paralysed much of academia, thousands of journalism candidates were able to avoid becoming trapped in a vocational limbo, while those unable to sit their planned examinations remotely were given as much clarity and reassurance as uncertainty allowed.

“The implications of COVID-19 and its legacy will reverberate for the foreseeable future within all NCTJ relationships. Opportunities abound for future development, especially in areas of exam delivery. So, also, do the challenges; notably the safeguarding of academic integrity, commitments to inclusion and the continuing need to reappraise and refine existing qualifications to meet the pace of media evolution and student choice.

“As ever, 2021 prophesises no less disruption for the small executive. Exceptional teamwork and resilience in navigating the demands of the last year brought wide and deserved appreciation from NCTJ stakeholders and beyond. These qualities will remain crucial as continual reassessment of future planning is added to the incessant operational pressures of exam delivery.

“All of which uncertainty provides an appropriate reminder of this committee’s unchanging core purpose; and its commitment to safeguarding the quality and standards of NCTJ examinations, which ultimately underpins the validity of every aspect of the work of the Council.”

Read the full report here.