Fears over poor marking as appeals for A-level and GCSE exams hit new high

Guardian, 21/10/14, exams regulator Ofqual reveals surge in number of re-marking requests and increase in higher marks awarded on appeal. HMC Chairman, Richard Harman is quoted.

The record number of successful challenges to this year’s A-levels and GCSE results is being viewed with “a great deal of concern” within the Department for Education, over fears that erratic marking is damaging the credibility of the exams.

Ofqual, the exams regulator, published figures on Tuesday revealing a surge in the number of re-marking requests after A-level and GCSE results this summer, as well as a big increase in higher marks and grades awarded on appeal.

The figures show that appeals in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have more than doubled in the past three years, confirming concerns from school leaders about a continued deterioration in the quality of marking.

Richard Harman, the chair of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference, which represents leading private schools, 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.”

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