The Contribution of Centralisation and De-centralisation to Public Confidence in Examinations and Qualifications - This article discusses the centralisation and de-centralisation of examinations systems, and the relationship of the concept of (de-)centralisation to public confidence in examinations and qualifications systems. In reviewing previous literature it finds that (de-)centralisation has been considered as a unitary concept affecting education systems, whereas previous literature had only looked at (de-) centralisation of disconnected parts of exams and qualifications systems. The article then reports findings derived from qualitative analysis of data collected at an international focus group. The analysis of these data allows reflection on: whether (de-)centralisation as a unitary, multifaceted concept had power to explain examinations and qualifications systems; what the characteristics of such a concept of (de-)centralisation would be; and on the relationship between the concept of (de-)centralisation and public confidence in examinations and qualifications systems. The article concludes by discussing ways in which researchers or policy makers might apply this research to their own contexts.
Keywords: Qualitative research, international comparative research, centralisation and decentralisation, public confidence, examinations and qualifications systems.