A-level results day 2016: A-level re-marks

A-level students will find it more difficult to get papers re-marked this year, with Ofqual stating that it will strictly monitor all appeals made. This announcement comes ahead of the first results day in which AS curriculum differs from the A2 one, as new content was introduced to Year 12 students at the start of the academic year. 

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The examination regulator has observed that examiners tend to mark more generously the second time round, with extra marks being awarded when the original grade is “perfectly appropriate”. Results will now only be amended if it is clear that the marker has made an error. 

 

In 2015, a record 460,000 appeals were launched by schools for both GCSE and A-level papers, indicating that teachers and students alike have a distrust of exam marking strategies. Ofqual hopes that clamping down on re-marking will instil more confidence in the examination system as a whole: a survey conducted by Ofqual found that 42% of headteachers believe the A-level marking system to be unfair, compared to 29% who said it was fair.

 

This may place humanities students at a disadvantage, for whom the majority of exams are essay-based, with marking being more open to interpretation. Schools have also expressed worry that stricter appeal policies will have long-term consequences for students who miss their grade by a few marks.

 

Yet Ofqual argues that stricter re-mark policies will create a “level playing field”. To have an A-level paper re-marked, there is a standard fee of £40, with students seeking a priority mark shelling out £45, and it costs a further £10 on top of this to receive a photocopy of the exam script.

 

Exam boards have also proposed plans to source future exam questions from teachers across the country. Examiners will take surveys of teachers, requesting them to send in the questions and exercises used in teaching which their students found most challenging. The most appropriate may be included in exam papers.

 

These developments come after a challenging year for teachers and A-level providers, as old-style A-levels are replaced by a new curriculum, which both teachers and students are unfamiliar with. While the old curriculum has been taught to Year 13 students, those in Year 12 have had to get to grips with a new curriculum this year. Many teachers have expressed that they do not have apt time to prepare for these changes. 

Ofqual hopes that clamping down on re-marking will instil more confidence in the examination system as a whole: a survey conducted by Ofqual found that 42% of headteachers believe the A-level marking system to be unfair, compared to 29% who said it was fair.

This may place humanities students at a disadvantage, for whom the majority of exams are essay-based, with marking being more open to interpretation. Schools have also expressed worry that stricter appeal policies will have long-term consequences for students who miss their grade by a few marks.

Yet Ofqual argues that stricter re-mark policies will create a “level playing field”. To have an A-level paper re-marked, there is a standard fee of £40, with students seeking a priority mark shelling out £45, and it costs a further £10 on top of this to receive a photocopy of the exam script.

Exam boards have also proposed plans to source future exam questions from teachers across the country. Examiners will take surveys of teachers, requesting them to send in the questions and exercises used in teaching which their students found most challenging. The most appropriate may be included in exam papers.

These developments come after a challenging year for teachers and A-level providers, as old-style A-levels are replaced by a new curriculum, which both teachers and students are unfamiliar with. While the old curriculum has been taught to Year 13 students, those in Year 12 have had to get to grips with a new curriculum this year. Many teachers have expressed that they do not have apt time to prepare for these changes. 

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