The country's leading examinations body has emphasised its role in educational research at a parliamentary reception.
The Assessment and Qualifications Alliance (AQA), the largest exam board in England, hosted a reception on the House of Commons Terrace on Wednesday to showcase the work of its research department and the recognition it has received in the wider industry.
Speaking at the event was Andrew Hall, chief executive of the AQA, who focused on unintended consequences in A-level design.
Using the example of a Mathematics A-level, Hall discussed the discrepancy in rigour between AS-levels, taken in Year 12, and A2-levels, taken in Year 13 and the high number of candidates who take resits in order to get the highest possible grade that they can.
He surmised that the high level of resits was due to students seeking to retake AS exams, perceived as easier, in order to improve their overall grade.
Hall said: "I am not against AS-levels. They are a good predictor of future performance and assist students in bridging the gap between GCSE and A-level."
However, he posed a question for the gathered parliamentarians and industry experts.
"Is it not now the time for a review of AS-levels, which have been around for ten years?" Hall asked.
He added: "Resits need to be there as we all have a bad day in the office, but we need to look at the number that are being taken and seek to get to the root of this matter."
Hall went on to outline how the AQA can assist in resolving issues of unintended consequence, through its role in research.
"This is an area that I have been concerned about for quite some time," Hall said.
"We have been conducting research that we will publish in a few weeks, on the impact of AS on final A-level grades."
He continued: "If Britain is going to compete internationally, we need to be prepared to think about any unintended consequences in our qualification design."
Also speaking at the reception was Graham Stuart, chair of the education committee.
Stuart, Conservative MP for Beverley and Holderness, praised the work of the AQA.
He said: "I welcome the fact that the AQA is not only conducting this research, but actually making the effort to come and share that with us today. We need to have debate about educational standards and make sure that we can improve the system so it supports learning, rather than asking learners to do everything to fit in with qualifications."
And he noted that the government appeared to be open to debate on issues of educational research.
"We have a new government; a coalition government and I think ministers are open to this discussion. Politicians can always lay out the problem and speak about it powerfully, but they don't speak so much about whether their particular solution is the correct solution to the problem."
He went on: "When any action is taken there will be always be unforeseen consequences, but we can seek to minimise the damaging ones and maximise the positives. The AQA can play a vital part in delivering this."
Presenting information on the exam body's research programme was Michelle Meadows, head of research at the AQA.
Whilst admitting that there was no "easy formula" in ensuring that qualifications provide value for money to society, Meadows highlighted the importance of research in making the United Kingdom internationally competitive.
She said: "Developing qualifications is complex; it involves technical expertise and robust research. If we want to be internationally competitive as a nation, we need high-quality examinations that promote high-quality teaching and learning."
And Meadows noted the importance of the AQA's research programme.
She said: "There isn't enough innovative work of this kind in the highly regulated, high-stakes assessments that we deal in, and there isn't enough thorough research evaluation of how our qualifications affect pedagogy and learning. This must be a fundamental consideration in qualification design. Awarding bodies need to lead in this area."