Significant increase in 2017 GCSE and A Level exam result challenges and re-grades: HMC first response

14 December 2017
Posted by HMC Press Office

Exam regulator Ofqual today (Dec 14) released its end-of-year data on GCSE and A Level exam result enquiries:

These show a considerable increase in the number of reviews of marking, administrative error reviews (collectively referred to as ‘reviews’) and the number of qualification grades challenged as a result.


In response, Dr. William Richardson, General Secretary of HMC said: 

“Head teachers of leading independent schools have been campaigning for many years for more reliable exam grading and this significant increase in the number of results being changed is extremely frustrating.

“It seems likely that the exam boards’ poor management of the reviews of this summer’s exam paper marking has meant arbitrary changes. This is unfair – on those who are re-graded, on those who aren't and on those whose schools couldn't afford to ask for a review.

“In the midst of all the statistics are hard-working pupils who have the right to fair treatment and who rely on exam grades to open the door to their next stage in life.  Any suggestion that the review stage is a lottery is very damaging for them and for exam probity more generally.

“The wider reasons for grade unreliability are complex and not well understood publicly.  Ofqual has done important work, but confidence amongst head teachers and the public needs bolstering and will have been damaged again this year.

“A fundamental re-think is needed on how student attainment is reported and HMC is actively helping to find long term solutions. We welcome Ofqual’s openness in considering new approaches to this long-standing problem.”