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Students learn A-level grades by text message

A hundred pupils have become the first in England to receive their A-level results by text message, The TES can reveal.

Sixth-formers at seven schools and colleges have taken part in a trial by the OCR exam board that could go nationwide.

The students sat A-level papers in January and were sent their grades by text at the beginning of this month.

Teenagers participating in the optional trial were also able to collect results in the traditional way from their schools, in Bristol, Cambridge, Coventry, Crewe, Manchester and Reading.

At the Willink School, near Reading, the trial appears to have been a success. Ann Munday, the school's exams officer, said 22 of the 25 students who took OCR exams in January, in subjects including geography, maths and chemistry, had opted for the texts.

She said most of them liked the idea in principle, and it had been useful for some students who had been away from school on study leave.

However, the messages were not sent until the early afternoon, by which time several students had already found out their results in the conventional way.

Ms Munday said students had told her that they would also have preferred getting texts with their detailed marks, rather than with just their grades.

Greg Watson, OCR's chief executive, said the board planned a larger trial this summer.

"The mobile phone is just about the most portable means of receiving results, which could have benefits for those who, for example, are on holiday," he said. But he said that he suspected many students still valued getting results in the traditional way, with their teachers on hand to provide them with advice.

Around 5,000 pupils in Scotland were sent their grades by mobile phone last year. And Edexcel became the first board to make A-level results available to pupils on a secure website. But a spokesman for the board told The TES it would not be notifying grades by text messages yet, partly because teachers were unhappy about pupils using mobile phones in school.

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