News story

Ofqual publishes reports relating to 2016 GCSE, AS and A levels

Ofqual has today published its summer series overview, reviews of marking and moderation, and its inter-board comparability report

Commenting on the publications, Sally Collier, Chief Regulator, said:

We want students, schools, colleges, parents and employers to have confidence in the exams process. The documents we are publishing today show how the systems used by exam boards to assess GCSEs, AS and A levels have functioned during summer 2016.

The first report is our general round-up of the 2016 summer series of exams. This report provides a broad overview of exam planning, exam administration, marking, the awarding process and what happened post-results.

As shown in our infographic, around 15.4 million scripts were generated by approximately 1.9 million candidates during the 7 week summer period. Around 1,800 different GCSE, AS and A level exams were taken and these were marked by approximately 54,000 examiners, leading to 7.7 million certifications.

The vast majority of students received the outcome their performance deserved without issue in summer 2016. Where issues occurred, such as security breaches, assessment material errors, or marking errors, exam boards took action to mitigate the impact. Where we had concerns about the actions exam boards were taking, we acted quickly to ensure that they took the appropriate steps to protect any affected learners.

The second report provides Official Statistics on the reviews of marking and moderation for GCSE, AS and A level exams. This report follows changes made to the system previously known as Enquiries About Results (EARs) which were announced earlier this year.

The main findings in this report are that 2.0% of all GCSE, AS and A level entries were subject to review in 2016 compared to 2.5% in 2015. The number of requests for reviews decreased from 572,400 last year, to 427,100 this year (-25%). These requests concern 371,600 of the 7.7 million qualification grades issued in 2016. In total, 67,900 qualification grades were changed. This is a 25% decrease on the 2015 figure of 90,950. Overall, 0.9% of GCSE, AS and A level qualification grades were changed. This is the lowest proportion of changes made since 2013.

Sally Collier added:

Quality of marking is a very important issue for us. The ability to have marking reviewed, and corrected if necessary, is critical to a fair qualifications system. 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 third report outlines how we judge comparability between exam boards. The aim of the report is to demonstrate how we ensure that there is a level playing field for students. We have monitored selected GCSE and A level awards for 2016. The exam boards have maintained appropriate standards and ensured that grade standards within a subject were in line across exam boards.

ENDS:

The associated data tables are available on our website.