Paying the price for re-marks

8th February 2008 at 00:00
Every year it happens. Teachers see the GCSE or A-level results and wonder how that grade or that particular set of grades can be right. How can that student or, even worse, that set of students have lower grades than expected. Sometimes it's easy to sort out on the day because it's a basic clerical error - a group with 100 per cent course work being given 0 per cent instead being one real example.

But, if it's not obvious, then the tortuous and expensive process of challenging the grades begins. Some schools are better able to make that challenge because parents can afford a re-mark or the schools can.

Others decide it's too borderline to make the effort and unhappiness is confined to moaning in the staffroom or family kitchen.

Eton has done the profession a service by compiling a well-sourced dossier which begs many questions about GCSE and A-level marking. The QCA has done schools an even bigger service by instituting an overdue inquiry into standards of marking, as reported exclusively in The TES today. We can but hope it has teeth to make the boards change their ways. Yes, most marking is probably sound, but let's not forget that when it isn't, it can cost a student a longed-for place at a university of choice and affect career prospects.

We can't have a system when candidates with zero marks need a re-mark to give them the A they deserve. Confidence in the marking system is essential, as is the means to challenge it more easily than we can now.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a TES/ TESS subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order today