Big jumps in requests for exam re-marks and grade changes mean Ofqual must sort out exam board problems urgently

Figures released today by the exam regulator Ofqual show big increases both in requests for re-marks made by schools and in the number of grades changed by exam boards as a result.

This autumn 16,000 A level grades were raised after re-marks and 29,500 after GCSE re-marks.  These figures have increased in each of the past four years and have shown a further jump between 2013 and 2014.

Compared to 2011, the number of student grades that have been increased after re-marking has risen sharply – up 65% over four years for GCSE and up 71% for A levels.

Richard Harman, Chairman of HMC and Headmaster of Uppingham School, said:

“We have been concerned about the accuracy of exam marking for many years, and so it is extremely worrying to see a new leap in the figures for re-grades this year.  The college or university places of tens of thousands of students have been needlessly jeopardised this autumn and the exam boards must be made to do much better.’

Peter Hamilton, Chair of HMC’s Academic Policy Committee and Head of Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School, Elstree, said:

“Ofqual is about to introduce significant new demands on exam boards to up their game on accuracy of marking.  This can’t come quickly enough.  

HMC has been pointing out these problems each summer and still the number of candidates getting the wrong grades increases – this year by a further large proportion.  The measures taken by Ofqual need to be applied relentlessly as the boards have shown over many years that they can’t be trusted to get marks right first time.

Parents, students and teachers will be dismayed to read these figures.”

Ends

Notes for Editors

HMC (the Headmasters' & Headmistresses' Conference) is a professional Association of heads of the world's leading independent schools. HMC has 260 members in the British Isles educating more than 200,000 children, and a further 60 international members. Our members lead boys’, girls’ and co-educational schools that are distinguished by their excellence in pastoral care, co-curricular provision and classroom teaching. Members of HMC have met annually in conference since the first meeting in 1869. HMC today is a thriving, pro-active Association of leading figures in school education. See www.hmc.org.uk.

Contact: Sheila Thompson on 07958 307637 or at s.thompson5362@btinternet.com.