GCSE results are on the horizon. If a grade doesn’t seem right, there are still some options available.

Each exam board takes a different approach to re-marks*, appeals and the fees they charge, so Schools Week has collated the latest information on how the system will work this year.

(*Exam boards have renamed re-marks as ‘reviews of results/marking’, as the process doesn’t involve re-marking exam papers from scratch. Most people still call them ‘re-marks’ though, so we’ve stuck with that too).

How can I get copies of marked exam papers?

If a school wants to check a pupil’s marked exam papers, they can be requested from the 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. The cost of doing this varies between exam boards. Copies should be requested by August 29.

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”. These will not include examiner annotation, but you will be able to see the marks. Pupils will need to get in touch with their school to use this service.

If your school wants to request a pupil’s exam script after it has been amended through a re-mark, Pearson will charge a fee of £12.50.

OCR charges £12.15 for a priority copy of the marked script, or £11.75 for a non-priority copy to aid teaching and learning. Non-priority copies are not guaranteed to arrive before the deadline to apply for a re-mark, and should be requested by September 26.

This is the first year that AQA has offered the opportunity to obtain any copies of marked GCSE papers. Currently schools can only request papers for GCSE English language, English literature and Maths, but the exam board will provide a full GCSE service from next year. It charges £14.35 per copy.


How can I request a GCSE exam re-mark?

It is important to note that marks can go down as well as up as a result of a re-mark – or “reviews of results” as exam boards like to call them – and so schools will need permission from pupils. Fees charged by exam boards are usually waived if a mark is changed.

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 19 and should be completed within 10 calendar days. AQA charges £8.05 per unit, Pearson/Edexcel charges £11.30 and OCR charges £17.45.

A full re-mark: The “review of marking” will check if the agreed mark scheme has been applied correctly and consistently throughout the script. Requests should be submitted by September 19 and take no longer than 20 calendar days. Pearson/Edexcel charges £40.40 for the service, AQA charges £37.55 and OCR charges £48.50.

A review of moderation: If your school is concerned about the moderation of internally assessed coursework marks, it can asked this to be reviewed. This can only be done for whole subjects, and not individual students.  Requests should be made by September 19 and take no longer than 35 calendar days. OCR charges £225.20, Pearson/Edexcel charges £224.80 for the first five candidates and £17.40 per candidate after that, and AQA charges £225.80, although this fee is halved if it related to five pupils or less.


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. 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 the 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?

The exam boards have a slightly different approach to queries about missing or incomplete results.

AQA asks exams officers to call them, and has full details of its procedure.

OCR has a “missing and incomplete result service”, which is available online.

Pearson/Edexcel 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.


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