HMC statement on Ofqual’s future arrangements for reviews of marking, reviews of moderation, and appeals

16 February 2017
Posted by Heidi Salmons

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

“HMC has called for greater transparency in exam marking and welcomes these changes. We are particularly pleased to see students will eventually receive copies of their marked GCSE papers without charge and exam boards will need to explain their marking in the case of challenged grades.

“However, the exam marking system is still not equally fair to each candidate and remains fundamentally flawed. One in five A Level and GCSE grades are overturned when challenged, and many of the rest might officially be considered reasonable but are not trusted by schools. Meanwhile, the cost of challenging grades remains prohibitively high for many state schools, so we can only wonder how many students missed out altogether on the chance to get unfair grades changed.

“A centrally funded re-marking fund is needed to help cash-strapped state schools challenge suspect grades whenever necessary and ensure no student’s future is put at undue risk. We need a system that works fairly for everyone, first time.

“Meanwhile, it is sensible that the exam boards intend to continue to work to the same timetable for challenges and appeals to results. This will avoid the potential for confusion and loss of confidence made possible by Ofqual’s decision last year to abandon its former Code of Practice. In this instance the boards have, in effect, moved to save the regulator from itself.”