As pupils and teachers prepare for A-level results day tomorrow, Schools Week has collated the latest information on how to apply for re-marks and appeal results (just in case!).
Each exam board takes a slightly different approach to the re-marking and appeals process, so here is the most recent advice on getting copies of marked exam papers, requesting re-marks, appealing grades and reporting missing or incomplete results.
Exam boards have renamed re-marks as ‘reviews of results’, as the process doesn’t involve re-marking exam papers from scratch. But ‘re-marks’ is what most people call them, and that’s what we’ll call them here.
How can I get copies of marked exam papers?
If your school isn’t sure that a grade looks right and wants to check a pupil’s marked exam paper, you can request them from exam boards.
This is called “access to scripts” and is often used by schools when deciding whether or not to ask for a re-mark, and to help teachers understand how students performed in the exam.
How you do this, and how much it costs, depends on the exam board.
For Pearson/Edexcel exams, all electronically marked papers can be downloaded by schools for free. These will not include examiner annotation, but you will be able to see the marks. Teachers can request downloadable copies of their students’ answers and how the mark scheme was applied through the exam board’s “access to scripts” services. Pupils need to get in touch with their school to use the service.
If you then apply for an exam to be re-marked, and want to see the re-marked exam script, Pearson will charge a fee of £12.50.
AQA charges £14.35 for a priority copy of a marked exam paper and requests should be received by August 22. Schools can also request the original exam paper for £11.30, but AQA recommends schools do not use this service if they are considering an appeal or re-mark as the original papers will not be posted until the re-mark deadline has passed. Its post-results services can be accessed online.
OCR charges £12.15 for a priority copy of a marked script to help schools decide whether to request a review. You can also request a non-priority copy to help with teaching and learning for £11.75, but this is not guaranteed to arrive before the deadline for applying for a review. Priority requests must be submitted by August 22, and non-priority by September 26. A breakdown of OCR’s post-results services can be found on its website.
Cases can be prioritised for students who have a pending university place, but it is recommended these pupils should apply straight for a priority re-mark rather than waiting for a marked paper.
How can I request an A-level exam re-mark?
Exam boards call these “enquiries about results” and they can involve several different approaches, all with different fees. However, these fees will usually only been charged if the review does not result in a change in mark. It is worth remembering that grades can go down as well as up, and so schools will need written consent from the student before applying.
You can request:
A clerical re-check: This is not a re-mark, but checks all parts of the script have been marked and the totalling and recording of marks is correct. Requests must be received by the awarding body by September 19, and should be completed within 10 calendar days. OCR charges £17.45 per unit, AQA charges £16.10 (plus an additional £14.35 if you want a copy of the checked paper) and Pearson/Edexcel charges £11.30. You can only request one clerical re-check for each paper.
A full re-mark: Exam boards call this a ‘”review of marking”, and it entails a clerical check and a review of all the marks given for paper. Requests must be received by September 19, and the re-mark should be completed within 20 calendar days. For AQA this costs £43.45 per unit, OCR charges £48.50 and Pearson/Edexcel charges £46.90.
Each of the boards also offers the opportunity for a priority review of marking, which is processed faster (15 calendar days) and often used when a pupil’s place at university depends on the outcome. However, these are more expensive. AQA charges £51.75 per unit, OCR charges £59.80 and it costs £55.90 for Pearson/Edexcel. Requests should be submitted by August 22.
A review of moderation: If your school is concerned about the moderation of internally assessed coursework marks, it can ask this to be reviewed. This can only be done for whole subjects, and not individual students. Requests should be made by September 19, and it can take up to 35 calendar days. OCR charges £225.20 and AQA charges £251.60, although this fee is halved if the review only includes five pupils or fewer. Edexcel/Pearson charges £224.80 to review coursework for up to five candidates, with an extra charge of £17.40 for each additional candidate.
How do I appeal an A-level mark?
Schools can appeal if they aren’t happy with the result of the re-marking process. The appeal has two stages: a preliminary process that involves an investigation of the case, and a hearing held by an independent appeals committee. Schools must complete the preliminary appeal before progressing to the committee stage.
Appeals should be submitted by the head of the school within 30 calendar days of receiving the result of the re-mark or moderation review, and must clearly set out a school’s grounds for appeal. A private candidate can submit an application directly, but pupils must go through their school to appeal.
The Joint Council for Qualifications, which represents exam boards, updated its appeal guidance this month. It said appeals should focus on whether there is a marking error, specifically: an administrative error, a failure to accurately mark the script where it did not involve academic judgement, or an unreasonable exercise of academic judgement.
The case will either be rejected or upheld during the preliminary stage. If it is upheld, any necessary further work on the exam script or results will be taken.
If a school chooses to pursue an appeal hearing, requests must be made within two calendar weeks of the school receiving the preliminary appeal outcome letter and must set out the grounds for appeal and all supporting documentation.
The hearing will consider whether the awarding body applied its procedures consistently, properly and fairly in arriving at judgements and whether there has been a marking or moderation error, or an error in the reviews of marking or moderation.
OCR charges £148.30 for the preliminary appeal, and £211.80 for the hearing. AQA charges £111.75 for the preliminary stage and £186.15 for the appeal hearing, and Pearson/Edexcel charges up to £120 for the preliminary appeal and £150 for the appeal hearing.
How do I report missing or incomplete exam results?
OCR has a missing and incomplete results service where teachers can query missing results or request an investigation if they believe a ‘no result’, ‘partial absence’ or ‘pending’ indicator has been incorrectly applied. This can be used if an individual subject result is missing, or if a pupil has been omitted entirely from results. There is no charge for using the service.
Pearson/Edexcel encourages exams officers to contact the exam board in the case of missing or incomplete results. AQA says exams officers should call them, including details of the problem and the qualification. More details on the AQA process is available online.
Anyone wanting advice on the next steps after receiving results can call the government’s impartial, free exam results helpline on 0800 100 900 available from 8 am to 10pm seven days a week.