Ofqual defers allowing pupils to bypass schools for exam re-marks

Ofqual defers allowing pupils to bypass schools for exam re-marks

Ofqual has put back a decision on allowing pupils to ask for re-marks of their GCSE and A-level exams, originally put forward to be available this summer.

In May, the exams regulator announced it was to remove the restriction, which prevents exam boards from allowing learners to make direct re-mark requests. It said this would make the process more “fair”.

Ofqual said: “We are continuing to gather evidence in relation to the impact of these requirements. In all cases we have put in place conditions that will allow us to implement our decisions at a later date. We will consult further on any revisions to these conditions as necessary.”

In addition, the regulator has also decided to push back a decision on three other areas, which were originally planned to come into force for this year’s results. These are about the detail of the exam boards’ framework, which would be used to set dates for completing reviews and appeals; when automatic grade protection that currently applies following moderation will be removed; and when exam boards should be required to make marked GCSE scripts available to schools.

The decisions come after a public consultation on the changes in the appeals process, in which 19 people and organisations responded.

In response to the question about when to lift the restriction on allowing pupils to ask for re-marks, 16 people responded specifically, and said the change should not be introduced “swiftly” and suggested September 2017 or 2018 for implementation.

When Ofqual announced the proposed changes, the Joint Council for Qualifications, which represents all the exam boards, did not offer its support to the change.

Ofqual has made a final decision on a number of other changes.

These are:

– Exam reviews for GCSE and A-level papers will only allow an examiner to review and correct errors in marking. Full re-marks of papers will no longer occur. Julie Swan, executive director for general qualifications, said in May this would prevent some pupils having a “second bite of the cherry”

– A planned pilot to be carried out this year to test the above change will now include A-level physics, rather than maths, along with religious studies and geography

– Exam boards must provide the reasons for marking review decisions on request. However, boards will not have to do this within the specific timescale set out so far (for this summer), and Ofqual said exam boards will “need to change their systems before they can respond quickly to requests”