GCSE results day will – hopefully – be a day of celebration for many pupils and teachers around the country. But if something doesn’t seem quite right with a result, there are still some options available.
This year the exam boards have renamed re-marks to ‘reviews of results’. Each board takes a slightly different approach to re-marking – or reviewing – results and appeals, so Schools Week has collated the latest information on how the system will work this year.
1. How can I get copies of marked exam papers?
If a grade doesn’t look right and your school wants to check a pupil’s marked exam paper, you can request them from the exam boards. These can be requested from results day (August 23) up until August 30, and the script should be received by the school no later than September 6.
All electronically marked Pearson/Edexcel exams are available to be downloaded by schools for free. Teachers can request downloadable copies of their students’ answers and how the mark scheme was applied through the “free access to scripts services”. Pupils will need to get in touch with their school to use this service.
OCR will release photocopies of marked GCSE scripts if requested by a school for a fee of £11.75.
AQA does not offer the option of requesting a marked GCSE script for the purpose of a re-mark, although it plans to begin doing so by 2020. A spokesperson told Schools Week that in certain cases, where offers of sixth form or college are dependent on achieving a particular grade, a school should contact the exam board’s customer services team to see if they are able to help.
2. How can I request a GCSE exam re-mark?
The newly named ‘reviews of results’ involve several different approaches, all with different fees. However, these fees are usually charged only if a review does not result in a change in mark. It is important to note that marks can go down as well as up as a result of a review.
Schools can request:
A clerical re-check: This process is to ensure all parts of the script have been marked, and that the totalling and recording of marks is correct. The paper itself will not be re-marked. All requests for a clerical re-check must be received by the awarding body by September 20, and will be completed within 10 calendar days of the request being received. Schools must get written consent from a pupil before requesting this, as their mark could go down.
A full re-mark: Exam boards now refer to this as a “review of marking”. The review will ensure that the agreed mark scheme has been applied correctly and consistently throughout the script. All requests should be submitted by September 20, and completed within 20 calendar days. Schools must get written consent from a pupil before requesting this, as their mark could go down.
A review of moderation: If a school has concerns over the moderation of internally assessed coursework marks, it can ask for a review to ensure the initial moderation was carried out correctly. All requests must be received by September 20, and will be completed within 35 calendar days.
3. How do I appeal a GCSE 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.
Appeals should focus on whether an awarding body has followed regulatory requirements and whether it has applied its procedures properly and fairly in arriving at judgements.
For GCSE English Language, English Literature and Mathematics, an appeal can also be on the basis of whether the mark scheme has not been properly applied – although the school must show precisely where this was the case – or if the mark could not have been given by a trained and standardised marker with appropriate subject knowledge and who had exercised academic judgement in a reasonable way.
A written request for an appeal must be submitted by the head of the school to the relevant awarding body within 30 calendar days of receiving the result of the clerical re-check, re-mark or moderation review.
If the awarding body accepts the basis of the appeal, a preliminary appeals process investigation will be carried out. After this, the appeal will either be rejected or upheld in whole or in part. If it is upheld, the awarding body will carry out any necessary further work on the pupil’s scripts or results.
If, however, the school is not satisfied with the result of the preliminary appeal, it can submit a written request for an appeal hearing within two calendar weeks of receiving the outcome.
The hearing will typically include a panel of three of four people who are not directly employed by the awarding body and have been trained in deciding appeals.
There are also other elements of the exams system that schools can appeal against, including if a school has reported malpractice and is unhappy with a decision made, or against decisions made in regards to access arrangements and special consideration, and against any sanctions imposed on them.
The Joint Council for Qualification, which represents the exam boards, has published a guide to this process.
4. How do I report missing or incomplete exam results?
The exam boards have a slightly different approach to queries about missing or incomplete results.
Pearson/Edexcel said that while it is very rare for exam results to be missing, they encourage teachers to get in touch with their exams officers, who can contact the exam board.
There is also further support on the website for students, parents and teachers and each school should have an allocated personal account manager who works with the exams officer to resolve any queries about results.