Exam special consideration requests up 19%

Ofqual has reported a dramatic 19 per cent rise in the number of requests for special consideration in the marking of GCSE, AS and A levels exams this summer.

There were 607,110 special consideration requests this year, up from 589,650 in 2016.

This jump continues a trend from last year, when the number of requests for special consideration increased by 4 per cent, from 568,350 in 2015.

Special consideration refers to any adjustment made to a candidate’s mark or grade after an exam has taken place, to reflect temporary illness, injury, or some other event outside their control, which has had an impact whether the can sit the assessment or fully show their abilities.

Incidents such as the Grenfell fire and the Manchester and London Bridge terror attacks earlier this year may have played a part in the need for greater special consideration in 2017, though Ofqual does not mention these events in its report. In 2016 the regulator did say that significant events affecting entire school cohorts, such as flooding, were taken into account.

Of the 607,110 requests for special consideration made in 2017, 567,795 were approved, a 94 per cent approval rate. The approval rate last year was 93 per cent, when 550,700 requests were approved.

Maths was by far the most common subject for special consideration requests this year with 29,315 requests at AS and A level. It was followed by biology with 14,050 requests, chemistry 12,200 and psychology with 11,875 requests.

At GCSE, maths again saw the highest number of requests for special consideration with 71,140 requests in total, follow by English language at 49,800 and English literature at 49,480.

Applications for special consideration can be made either on an individual or group basis, and this year 95 per cent of applications were from individuals (153,505 applications) and 5 per cent (8,045) were group applications.