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College Exams Transformation Project update

3 April 2024

Authored by: Georgina Riches, Head of Education Transformation

A year after the conclusion of our Exams Internal Reviews, we would like to share an update of the work that has been achieved so far, what is in progress and will be coming in the future.

The Exams Transformation Plan was formed from the recommendations of the Internal Investigation and the External Review by Professor John C McLachlan following an issue with the SBA results in March 2022 as well as from Internal Reviews of all exam operations.

The Plan contains 500 actions prioritised over four phases, running through to the end of 2025.

To date, more than 37% progress has been made overall, with 121 completed tasks and 154 in progress.

Phase One of the plan was completed in August 2023, one month ahead of the deadline. This consisted of 68 actions that could be immediately adopted to mitigate against, reduce or eradicate risk.

The work completed included establishing robust quality assurance measures, standardising processes, and forming strong process links, updating documents to be fit for purpose, developing the timing and content of communications and introducing enhanced email management approaches.

The following phases are focusing on more extensive changes, requiring significant development and consultation prior to a considered and planned implementation.

We are currently halfway through the defined timeframes for Phase Two with a completion deadline of 30 September 2024.

There has been 60% progress in this phase to date, with 48 completed actions and 123 in progress.

This phase features further enhancements to the customer service and communications we provide, including refining exam eligibility and application and revising website content.

Candidate and exam level data is also being advanced alongside improvements to results and awards processing.

Operations are continuing to be standardised and stabilised, with the introduction of structured exam year planning, process manuals and tracking linked to key performance indicators.

Phase Three will be commencing towards the end of 2024 and has 225 actions.
The third phase will be developing preparation and delivery operations which will improve the exam experience for candidates, examiners and other stakeholders.

The management of exam test item banks will also be advanced and exam policy processes will be developed.

The final – Fourth Phase – is planned for the second half of 2025 and will build on the developments completed in previous phases.

Further enhancements will be made to areas such as awarding, communications and customer service, KPIs and reporting and test item bank management.

During this phase, candidate and examiner portals will be introduced to centralise digital interactions, allowing tailored information to be shared with dynamic actions.

The core focus of the Exams Transformation is to improve the experience of stakeholders interacting with the department and its operations.

This supports the strategic vision of RCEM Exams to achieve excellence throughout operations, through considered and structured changes with measured and tracked benefits towards achievement.

This translates to excellent customer service levels being provided to stakeholders throughout their engagement, adoption of best practices throughout efficient processes with suitable planning and timeframes, high quality and standards assured through appropriate measures and checks and effective internal relations enabling collaboration and cohesion.

This vision has been broken down into workstreams and actions and prioritised within the four phases to embed and drive the strategic direction of the department.

The design and completion of the plan ensures sustainable, robust, high-quality operations.

Alongside the operational improvements being made in the Exams Transformation Plan, we are also continuing to develop the software used to support exam operations.

It is essential that the software and partners we work with share our values and principles to ensure the desired quality and standards are achieved.

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