Students given wrong exam grades

The exam regulator Ofqual has revealed that both teachers and headteachers have little confidence in the marking of GCSE and A-level exams.

The Ofqual study of last year’s results found that 47% of teachers are convinced that A-level students were given the wrong grade and 64% felt that GCSE were incorrect, the Independent reports.

Headteachers are even more sceptical, with two thirds of them lacking confidence about A-level grades and 79% about GCSEs,  plus 53%  have said that marking has declined over the past two years.

Amidst ongoing changes to the exam system, teachers are concerned over both the accuracy of marking and whether grade boundaries were properly set.

ASCL’s Brian Lightman said: “Confidence has dropped because of the piecemeal changes that have been rushed through. People no longer know with the confidence they did have in the past what is expected of pupils for a particular grade.”

The Ofqual survey is the latest episode in the continuing controversy over exam grades; two years ago the English GCSE grade boundaries were raised between the January and June sitting of the exam.

Do you share the concerns of the teachers in the Ofqual survey? Share your view with the Eteach community!

5 thoughts on “Students given wrong exam grades

  1. Having taught Of and A-level maths in the 1980s, I was appalled at the reduction in difficulty of the newly introduced GCSE syllabus in 1988 and the concomitant reduction in A-level Maths standard.
    Hence. 25 years on, to complain about poor exam marking standards is a red herring.

  2. It is common practice in a number of schools for students who are 1 or 2 marks below the threshold for the next grade to be appealed, especially if the student is close to a grade which will affect published performance tables. Marking is not a precise art and it can be very difficult in some subjects to be precise (i.e. within 1 or 2 marks) about the grade which a student deserves. One year I appealed a number of students who were close to the next grade up and six were upgraded.

    The solutions to poor marking are difficult to identify but a higher pay rate per script should attract more able teachers and a penalty charge for badly marked scripts, where marking is judged to be negligent, should improve the situation. In addition the remark charge needs to be raised so that opportunistic blanket submissions for remarks, such as mine, are discouraged.

  3. I share this lack of confidence.
    I called back 5 exam papers this year to check reasonableness of marking.

    One of my students gave a common sense answer to a question this year which was correct but as it was not word for word to the mark scheme received 0 marks. Other students had similar instances of this also.

    Ofsted criticise teachers “teaching to the exam” yet if we do not didactically rote learn some answers learners are penalised!

    I knew it would be pointless to ask for a remark but it may as we’ll have been assessed by a robot as clearly no common sense was applied by the assessor!

  4. ….. And how are the grades awarded. Last year and the year before one a/s level paper only had a 3 mark spread between d and b grade. A very badly written paper to elicit a range of answers that gave the marks that forced the awarding of these grades.

  5. Does anyone know who is actually marking the exams? This year some top students were all marked down when they had been told they would easily get a B grade and parents evening was a simple – yes your son/daughter were doing well and on target for good results.

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