Students will be able to request GCSE and A Level coursework re-marks from 2018

16th February 2017 at 15:53
Exam marking
Ofqual will introduce a series of exam re-marking reforms from summer next year after decisions were delayed last year

Individual pupils will be able to request the mark of their GCSE and A level coursework from summer next year, Ofqual has announced.

The exam watchdog announced last summer that it would delay decisions on a number of proposed changes to the appeal process – due to start last summer - to gather more evidence about their potential impact. 

The decision to defer significant changes came after exam boards said they had not been given enough time to prepare for the reforms.

But today Ofqual has said a number of reforms to the system will be introduced over the next three years. These include: 

  1. Exam boards will be required to ensure that schools allow individual students to request the marks of their non-exam assessment from 2018 
  2. Exam boards will ensure marked GCSE scripts are available to schools and colleges before their deadline for requesting a review of marking from 2020 
  3. Exam boards will have to provide the reasons for a review of marking decisions automatically from 2020

Currently not all students are given their marks for coursework and therefore they do not know whether they should call for a remark. 

But these changes could encourage pupils to request for assessments to be reviewed as the exams boards and schools will be required to allow the process to occur.

Last year, Ofqual began to make changes to their enquiries and appeals system. Under the measures, exam boards were not allowed to change a mark unless there had been what Ofqual calls a “clear marking error”. 

As part of the reforms, Ofqual said it was lifting a ban on pupils being allowed to challenge their own exam results. But individual exam boards are allowed to decide whether challenges to come directly from pupils rather than through schools.

A new pilot was also launched to enable schools to appeal the mark a student was given in A level physics, religious studies and geography, if the school believes a marking error was not corrected on review.  

But Ofqual announced today that a final decision regarding extending the grounds for appeal will be taken later this spring once analysis of the study has been completed. 

Peter Hamilton , chair of HMC’s academic policy committee and headmaster of Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School, said: “HMC has called for greater transparency in exam marking and welcomes these changes.

"We are particularly pleased to see students will eventually receive copies of their marked papers and exam boards will need to explain their marking in the case of challenged grades.

“However, the exam marking system is still not equally fair to each candidate and remains fundamentally flawed. One in five A Level and GCSE grades are overturned when challenged, and many of the rest might officially be considered reasonable but are not trusted by schools."

He added: "Meanwhile, the cost of challenging grades remains prohibitively high for many state schools, so we can only wonder how many students missed out altogether on the chance to get unfair grades changed."

Ofqual has also launched a survey for teachers today about their experience of the review of marking and moderation services.

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