The number of requests for special consideration in GCSE, AS and A levels increased by 1 per cent in 2018 despite the overall number of candidates falling, new figures show.
According to statistics published by Ofqual today, 615,295 such requests were made for exams taken this summer, compared to 606,890 in 2017. These figures are the highest in the statistics provided, which go back to 2014.
Special consideration refers to a post-examination adjustment to a candidate’s mark or grade to reflect temporary illness or injury, or some other event outside their control which is likely to have had an impact on their ability to take an assessment or demonstrate their level of attainment in an assessment.
Almost all special consideration requests (93 per cent) were approved, which was similar to last year.
In total 571,615 were approved, meaning there was an approved special consideration request for 3.5 per cent of all exams or coursework assessments taken – a small increase on 2017, when the figure was 3.1 per cent.
The most frequent mark adjustment in 2018 was 2 per cent of the maximum mark, whereas last year it was 3 per cent.
In addition to mark adjustments for candidates who were present for the assessment but disadvantaged in some way, exam boards can make “qualification awards” for candidates who were absent with good reason and so did not complete one or more of their exams.
Approved mark adjustment requests have remained above 95 per cent of the total approved requests. However, this year the number of approved qualification award requests declined from 24,685 to 16,960.
Ofqual said this could be related to the government’s exam reforms – there are fewer subjects with coursework, which means there are fewer opportunities to have completed the minimum amount of assessment required to get a qualification award (25 per cent of the overall assessment) when a candidate was absent for all of their exams.