Record number of exams re-graded

Published: Tuesday 21st October 2014 by The News Editor

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Record numbers of A-level and GCSE grades were changed this year, amid growing concerns among schools about marking.

New figures show that tens of thousands of results were altered after increasing numbers of papers were submitted to exam boards for rechecking and re-marking.

Headteachers said they were not surprised that there had been a significant rise in requests for re-marks this year, as many schools had seen “worrying” results which they did not believe reflected students’ true abilities.

The figures, published by exams regulator Ofqual, show a 48% increase in the number of inquiries sent back for checks and re-marks.

In total, secondary schools and colleges sent back 450,500 papers, up from 304,250 in 2013.

This resulted in 45,500 grades being changed, up from 39,650 last year.

Overall, nearly one in five (19.1%) of all inquiries resulted in a grade change, the figures show.

Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said: “We’re not surprised to hear that there has been a significant increase in requests for re-marks. Many schools have told us of a worrying number of results which simply did not reflect how well students should have done.

“In an informal poll we carried out of 200 schools, 95% said they had submitted appeals and 25% had seen changes to their students’ marks.

“There is a growing lack of confidence in the exam system which has been exacerbated by frequent and ad hoc changes to qualifications. These are confusing to teachers, students, parents and employers.

“Schools need to be able to trust the marks given to students. They need to know that examinations will be marked accurately, fairly and in a timely manner.

“It is still not clear how much of this year’s increase is due to fundamental weaknesses in marking. We therefore welcome the steps Ofqual is taking to understand what happened, to strengthen arrangements, and to publish data on the performance of awarding bodies.”

Education Minister Nick Gibb said: “It is essential that students can be confident that their hard work will be accurately assessed and the exams they sit properly marked.

“While the figures released today show the proportion of grades changed remains relatively low, every such change has a big impact on the individuals affected.

“Parents, pupils and schools must have faith in exam marking and we are working closely with Ofqual and the exam boards to ensure this is the case.”

Published: Tuesday 21st October 2014 by The News Editor

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