The Associated Examining Board has lodged a complaint with the Independent Television Commission, claiming that last month's Channel 4 Dispatches programme on exam boards failed to fulfil its obligation to "fairness and respect for truth" under the broadcasting code of practice.
It has criticised the programme's "emotive language", which spoke of the "closed world" of the examinations system and argued that GCSEs and A-levels were being made a "lottery" by boards lowering standards to win the custom of schools needing to do well in league tables.
George Turnbull, AEB spokesman, said some of his comments were used out of context. He called the programme "scurrilous and superficial" and said its "reconstruction" of secretive, dim, smoke-filled exam grading meetings looked more like illegal gambling meetings.
He said the system was open and Dispatches would have been welcome to film actual meetings, as Channel 4 and the BBC had done in the past.
A spokesman for Dispatches said: "Dispatches programmes are made to a high editorial standard - that edition, which was chosen to open the new season of programmes, raised a matter of great public importance."