Big jump in exam marks altered over IT blunders and clerical errors: Number of results changed doubles in the past year

The Daily Mail, 24.12.15, exam grades changed due to clerical errors and IT glitches have doubled in the past year, figures from Ofqual show. HMC's General Secretary, Dr William Richardson is quoted.

A total of 1,604 A-level and GCSE grades were changed because of internal exam board errors this year, up from 814 in 2014. The majority – 1,483 – were increased.

The number of security breaches increased from 20 in 2014 to 44 this summer, and included the theft of two vans that were delivering exam papers.

There was also a rise in whistleblowing allegations from 18 to 28. They mostly related to school and college malpractice in either exams or controlled assessments, Ofqual said.

Dr William Richardson, general secretary of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference, said: ‘Heads’ and teachers’ confidence in exam marking and grading continues to deteriorate and it is disturbing to note in today’s report that some of this increase was the result of a 97 per cent rise in processing errors at the boards’.

Of those 28 allegations, 15 related to school and college malpractice in exams, 20 related to school and college malpractice in controlled assessments.

However, Ofqual said: ‘With 2.1million candidates, over 1,700 exams, and examiners marking 22million scripts it is inevitable that some issues will arise and it is important that lessons are learned.’

Earlier this month, it was revealed that a record 90,000 GCSE and A-level results have been changed after challenges from schools.

This figure includes changes made due to both clerical and IT errors and mistakes or misjudgements by markers.

The figure represents a 17 per cent rise compared with last year, when only 77,400 grades were changed.

The exams regulator said increased teacher ‘anxiety’ had fuelled a 27 per cent rise in the number of grade queries – from 451,000 to 572,000.

Dr Richardson added: ‘These figures represent one re-issued and corrected exam certificate for each of the seats inside Wembley stadium.

‘That is a huge number of needlessly disappointed and upset students, some of whom will have missed out on places at their chosen further education college or university.’

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