Ofqual chief Glenys Stacey has reassured schools that exam boards are on course to meet their publishing deadlines – avoiding last year’s scramble when last-minute contingency measures were put in place amid fears one exam board was falling behind with marking papers.
Last year OCR came close to missing its marking deadlines, which led to Ofqual considering plans to delay publication of exam results. The exam board avoided the potential crisis by urgently recruiting markers, but Ofqual launched an investigation to establish why it happened.
The exam regulator’s findings are due to be published on Friday.
Speaking to journalists today, Ms Stacey said exam boards were “absolutely on track” to deliver their marking on time.
She also added her voice to those who have raised concerns about meeting a future spike in demand for markers to match the needs of linear exams.
Schools Week reported last week the fallout between OCR chief executive Mark Dawe (right) and the Department for Education (DfE) over his claims that there is a marker recruitment crisis.
Ms Stacey said: “There is a general concern about the supply of markers. We have a situation this year where all the units are taken at the same time and marked in the same window.
“The exam boards have managed that time successfully, which is particularly pleasing for us.”
She said exam boards were now looking towards addressing future pressures, adding: “The subjects that are becoming more popular are more demanding of marking.
“The system has some shared responsibility. My own view is if a good teacher is marking, then leaders herald that.
“This is about encouraging ownership in schools. Markers are making a laudable and hugely valued contribution. It’s not simply a job on the side and it should be recognised.”
When responding to how the marking system will cope with future changes, Ms Stacey said: “I have every confidence in the way marking has been developed.
“There is increasing sophistication of the quality of controls online, it’s no longer case you can mark at 2am in the morning having had four or five glasses of wine.”