The “vast majority” of UK students benefited from a high standard of exam marking during the summer 2016 examination season, according to a new report from Ofqual, Teaching Personnel reports.
The regulator’s general round-up of the 2016 summer examinations showed that 15.4 million scripts were written by approximately 1.9 million candidates during the seven-week summer period, with around 1,800 different GCSE, AS and A-level exams taken.
The report concluded that most pupils were awarded marks that reflected their performance without any dispute, with exam boards moving quickly to address any problems that arose, including security breaches, assessment material errors or marking mistakes.
Only two per cent of all GCSE, AS and A-level entries were subject to review in 2016, compared to 2.5 per cent in 2015, while the number of requests for reviews decreased by 25 per cent from 572,400 last year to 427,100 this year.
These requests concerned 371,600 of the 7.7 million qualification grades issued in 2016, with a total of 67,900 grades being changed as a result – a 25 per cent decrease on 2015’s figure. Overall, 0.9 per cent of GCSE, AS and A-level qualification grades were changed, the lowest proportion since 2013.
Ofqual also noted that in cases where it held concerns about the actions exam boards were taking, swift action was taken to ensure that appropriate steps were taken to protect any affected learners.
Sally Collier, chief regulator of Ofqual, said:
“To help us understand this year’s reviews statistics more fully, a thorough evaluation of the changes to the review process will be conducted to check that errors were indeed identified and corrected, and that legitimate marks were unchanged. We are also auditing exam boards’ quality assurance processes around marking to see what improvements can be made.”
The findings come after a damning report from Ofqual on errors in exam papers sat in the summer session. Figures in that report showed that material errors, which prevent students from answering exam questions, nearly tripled this year.