The decisions being announced today (8 July) follow those taken at the end of May and reflect the findings of further public consultation on a number of specific matters. We have listened carefully to the views submitted and have decided that, in particular:
- Reviewers, when deciding whether the first mark should stand, should consider whether the first marker made any administrative errors, properly applied the mark scheme and exercised their academic judgement appropriately.
- Exam boards must provide the reasons for marking review decisions on request, but there will be no express requirement to do this within a specific timescale in 2016. This decision acknowledges that the exam boards will need to change their systems before they can respond quickly to requests.
- A level physics, rather than maths, will be included along with religious studies and geography in the pilot exercise to test the new ground of appeal following a review. This is because of the potential complications at appeal from the strong relationship between maths and further maths.
We have also decided to defer decisions in a number of areas to a later date. These include:
- When the requirement for exam boards to make marked GCSE scripts available to centres should be introduced (in the meantime, exam boards may choose to make marked scripts available).
- The detail of the framework to be used by exam boards to set dates for completion of reviews and appeals.
- When the requirement for learners to be able to ask for the results of centre-marked assessments should be introduced.
- When the automatic grade protection that currently applies following a review of moderation will be removed.
We are continuing to gather evidence in relation to the impact of these requirements. In all cases we have put in place Conditions that will allow us to implement our decisions at a later date. We will consult further on any revisions to these Conditions as necessary.
The improvements we are making to exam boards’ marking review and appeals systems are complemented by our continuing and comprehensive work on the quality of first time marking, including initiating a comprehensive programme of research this summer into marking reliability. More information can be found in the slides used at our recent Summer Series Symposium.
Alongside today’s decisions document, we are publishing our analysis of the consultation feedback and our associated Regulatory Impact Assessment. We have also developed a postcard,
and guide, with input from school leaders, to help teachers and exam officers navigate the new system. We will write to schools with further information on a broader range of GCSE, AS and A level reform matters next week.
We will also publish the Conditions that will bring effect to all our decisions, and associated guidance, next week. We will be taking the opportunity to provide additional statutory guidance on other General Conditions. This guidance, in part, reflects decisions taken in light of the analysis of responses to our earlier consultation.