Exam results, News

How long do A level exam remarks take? From five days… to 22!

Note: This is a story from 2015 – the 2018 information on A-level re-marks is here.

A level exam remarks took up to 22 days last year, figures released by Ofqual show – a sobering reminder for nervous candidates ahead of this week’s results.

The figures released by exam regulator Ofqual relate to the summer 2014 exam series and show that among the three largest exam boards OCR took the longest to resolve enquiries.

A non-priority review of A level marks took almost 22 days when undertaken by OCR, compared to just five for Pearson.

“Priority Service 2” enquiries are used when a student’s higher education place depends on the outcome. Across all exam boards these took an average of 10 days to be completed in 2014. In 2013, the average time was just five days.

Speaking to Schools Week last year, Esher College principal Dan Dean said the delay had major implications for both AS and A level pupils.

He said: “Ten days is coming right up to the last point of when universities can hold places.

“There will be students who will choose to go to a second choice university, or go through clearing, who might have got the grade had they waited for the remark to come through.

“The whole remarking process is convoluted and a bit of a disaster to be honest. They should be getting it right in the first place.”

OCR recently faced an investigation from qualifications watchdog regarding a near-miss with its exam marking last year. The organisation has since taken action to ensure its processes are “more robust”.

An OCR spokesperson said: “The important thing is that OCR is well within the deadline of 18 days, during which universities are duty-bound to keep a student’s place open.

“However, we acknowledge that our resolution time could be better. That’s why we have introduced a number of upgrades to our processes that will take effect from this year and align OCR with the other exam boards.”

Last year some A level subjects saw more than 1 in 10 papers returned for remarks.

Music units delivered by Pearson and AQA both hit this benchmark. Pearson said the level of enquiries could be due to it being a coursework unit, while AQA said there were no specific issues with its paper.

“Although the proportion of enquiries in 2014 about music A-level unit 2B was quite high compared to other subjects, the average mark change was just 1.2 marks – which was less than most subjects. We analysed all of last year’s results some time ago, and there weren’t any specific issues with music.”

Ofqual last week said it did not anticipate any issues with exam marks being on time this year.

A level results will be delivered to candidates on Thursday morning. Check back to www.schoolsweek.co.uk for our analysis and reporting.

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