News story

Additional GCSE, AS and A level grounds for appeal

Schools in England will have a second chance to challenge GCSE, AS & A level and project results if they have concerns about marking errors.

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Ofqual has today (28 June 2017) announced that schools and colleges in England will in future have a second opportunity to challenge GCSE, AS level, A level and project results if they continue to have concerns about marking or moderation errors. This adds to their existing right to appeal results on the grounds that an exam board hasn’t followed its own procedures.

Starting this summer, those who continue to have concerns about marking or moderation errors in AS and A levels or project qualifications after the exam board has conducted its first review will be able to ask exam boards to look again. This follows the evaluation of a pilot exercise in summer 2016 involving 3 A level subjects (geography, religious studies, and physics), the results of which are published today. It found that this additional grounds of appeal provided a better opportunity for errors in marking to be identified and corrected.

The opportunity to appeal on the grounds of a marking or moderation error will be extended to GCSEs in English language, English literature and maths in 2018, and to all remaining GCSE subjects in 2019.

The period over which the new grounds will be phased in will give exam boards the time needed to appropriately build their capacity to manage the likely increase in appeal requests.

We have updated our guide for schools and colleges to reflect the change.

Commenting on today’s announcement, Sally Collier, Chief Regulator said:

We require exam boards to have procedures in place to make sure exam papers are marked accurately in the first place. However, it’s important that schools, students and teachers can challenge results if they have concerns. We’ve taken steps over the past couple of years to make the systems they use to do this clearer, more consistent, and fairer for all students. Today’s announcement means that everybody can have even more confidence that if a marking or moderation error has been made, it will be corrected.

We have updated our rules for project qualifications to include the new grounds. We have taken the opportunity to withdraw our rules for principal learning and diploma qualifications, as no awarding organisations plan to offer these qualifications in future, and we have also withdrawn the ‘GCSE, GCE, Principal Learning and Project Code of Practice’.

Published 28 June 2017