News story

Ofqual's approach to quality of marking: summer 2014 exams

We've published provisional statistics about GCSEs and A levels. They relate to our ongoing work improving the quality of marking.

The impact of any wrong marking on students or schools is considerable, and marking mistakes undermine public confidence. Earlier this year we reported that the quality of marking is generally good, but could be improved. Nevertheless, teachers and the public remain concerned about marking and particularly those rare cases where grades change to a baffling extent.

Today we are publishing provisional information from this summer’s exams. It shows that the number of Enquiries about Results (EARs) and appeals against results has increased noticeably this year, and more so than in previous years. At the same time, we outline the steps we are taking to get under the skin of the provisional data, to see whether or not the quality of marking is deteriorating. We also outline our other work on marking, so that teachers and the general public can see what we been doing about marking quality:

  1. Analysing this year’s EAR data and requiring more information from exam boards.
  2. Improving the EAR and Appeals system to make it more simple, transparent and fair.
  3. Developing better ways for exam boards to measure and report on quality of marking in future.
  4. Identifying best practice in mark scheme design.
  5. Requiring exam boards to upgrade action plans on quality of marking.
  6. Requiring exam boards to improve their monitoring of markers as they mark.
  7. Evaluating the effectiveness of marker training.

Glenys Stacey, Chief Regulator, said:

I welcome the chance to set out the work we are doing to get under the skin of this year’s provisional appeal figures and to make sure marking improves where it needs to improve. Teachers and others should expect marking to be of good quality and are quite rightly perplexed and concerned on those rare occasions when marks change considerably on appeal. Teachers’ confidence in marking has fallen. They can be reassured that we are taking their concerns seriously.

We will publish our analysis and further information alongside the final data in early December.

EARs for GCSE and GCE: provisional statistics, summer 2014 examination series

Commentary on Enquiries about Results for GCSE and A level (PDF, 140 KB, 2 pages)

Ofqual’s Work on Quality of Marking (PDF, 263 KB, 11 pages)

Quality of marking slides on SlideShare

Published 20 October 2014