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Disputed marks

I am writing in response to your front page story, "'Bizarre' marking probed" (TES, February 8). The fact is that the GCSE grades that changed on re-marking last summer represented less than 0.01 per cent of the total subject grades issued. Also, requests for re-marks are clustered just short of grade boundaries; therefore the proportion of grade changes is not at all representative of overall grade reliability.

The average turnaround for a re-mark in 2007 was less than 10 days. In addition, the priority re-mark service should ensure that, by agreement with Ucas, a student will not lose a university place; however, a few universities have chosen to abandon that agreement, and we find that inequitable.

There is continuous monitoring throughout the marking process to assure the quality and accuracy of results. The enquiries about results services provide a final opportunity for re-marking where a centre has concerns about a result. We regret any inaccuracies, but the number of resulting grade changes is very small.

Joint Council for Qualifications awarding bodies continue to invest heavily in examiner training and research into marking techniques and on-screen marking to improve reliability even further. If the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority would like to engage with our members on further improvement, this would be welcomed.

Dr Jim Sinclair Director, Joint Council for Qualifications, London.

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