Ofqual: more schools appealing over exam results

In an article in the Telegraph, 06/03/13, Graeme Paton reports on the rise in the number of schools protesting over GCSE and A-level results amid continuing dissatisfaction over standards of marking.

The number of schools protesting over GCSE and A-level results has soared by a quarter in just 12 months amid continuing dissatisfaction over standards of marking, official figures show.

Almost 500 appeals in England, Wales and Northern Ireland were lodged last year by schools unhappy with pupils’ final grades, it was revealed.

The figures – published by the exams watchdog Ofqual – follow the row over last summer's GCSE English results when teachers complained that thousands of pupils were marked down following a sudden shift in grade boundaries.

It also follows the publication of a report by the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference of leading private schools that warned of “systematic” weaknesses in the exams system, including poor quality marking and inconsistencies between competing test boards.

Figures from Ofqual have already shown a sharp rise in the number of schools sending exam papers back for rechecking and remarking.

A record 279,046 queries were made following last summer's exams, up from 204,575 in 2011 – a 36 per cent increase. This resulted in the highest number of grade changes, with 45,630 papers being adapted in total – up by 19 per cent in 12 months.

Under current rules, schools can also request an official appeal if they are dissatisfied with the outcome of the initial remarking process. This usually involves an examination of the case by a senior examiner.

According to new figures, 493 appeals were made against GCSE and A-level results in 2012 – up by 23 per cent on last year. Of these, 217 were against GCSEs and 276 were against A-levels.

In total, around a quarter were upheld by the exam board, compared with 18 per cent the previous year. In 62 cases, the appeal resulted in pupils' grades being changed.

By Graeme Paton, Education Editor. Click here to read the article © The Telegraph.