Go Inside Exams with AQA’s new podcast series

Published: Wednesday 1 May 2019

AQA has launched a new podcast series that takes listeners behind the scenes at the UK’s biggest exam board and gives an inside look at how exams work.

The series, Inside Exams, launched today and features interviews with AQA staff along with stories from teachers that will give an invaluable insight into all things exams and help teachers apply this knowledge in the classroom. It is presented by maths teacher Craig Barton of mrbartonmaths.com and produced by the award-winning Fresh Air Production.

The first two episodes explore how the words we use affect learning and how this impacts writing exam questions, including an interview with AQA assessment design manager Georgina Holmes. They also reveal how macaroni (yes, the pasta!) was used to make exam papers accessible for students with a visual impairment, and how modern day papers are modified to make them accessible to all students.

There are also bonus episodes from special guest contributors, released in between the main episodes. The first of these, also released on launch day, explores the concept of ‘cultural capital’ and what it means for education and, specifically, English teaching.

Ian Stockford, Director of Qualifications and Markets at AQA, said:

“Exam season is naturally a stressful time for all those involved and we’re always looking at what we can do to reduce that stress, reassure students and teachers, and ensure they achieve the results they deserve.

“We’re very pleased with the podcast series and really think it’ll provide a valuable insight for schools, teachers, parents and students, into how we design exams and the amount of work that goes into creating and delivering assessment.”

Craig Barton said:

“I’m super excited to be involved with AQA's Inside Exam podcast series. The inner workings of the awarding bodies have always seemed a mystery to me as a classroom teacher.

“How do they decide the wording of exam questions? Where do grade boundaries come from? How do they react to a social media storm? And just what is the EPQ?

“I’ve learned so much speaking to people at AQA and innovative classroom teachers around the land. I really hope everyone can learn something from this series”.

Neil Cowling, founder and managing director of Fresh Air Production, who made the podcasts, added:

“Podcasting is a great way to create engaging content for a niche audience that fits neatly into their everyday routines. We’ve loved building these shows for AQA and hope they’ll be entertaining and useful for teachers, and beneficial for students all over the country.”

All podcasts will be available on download or streaming from iTunes, Spotify, Google podcasts and many other apps, or on the AQA website. You can also access via a smart link which will direct you to the best format for your device.

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