Ofqual Handbook: Technical Qualifications

Reviews and appeals (Conditions TQ11 to TQ22)

Rules and guidance about reviews of marking, reviews of moderation, and appeals in Technical Qualifications

Condition TQ11 - Review of marking of Centre-marked assessments

  1. TQ11.1 In respect of each Technical Qualification which it makes available or proposes to make available, where an assessment is marked by a Centre, an awarding organisation must –
    1. (a) ensure that the agreement which is required to be in place between it and the Centre in accordance with General Condition C2.2 includes the provisions required by this condition, and
    2. (b) take all reasonable steps to ensure that the Centre complies with those provisions.
  1. TQ11.2 For the purposes of this condition, the agreement must include provisions which require the Centre to –
    1. (a) establish, maintain and comply with arrangements for any Learner to request a review of the Centre’s marking of an assessment in respect of that Learner and for such a review to be carried out,
    2. (b) issue to each Learner the results for each assessment taken by that Learner which has been marked by the Centre, so as to allow a reasonable time period for the Learner to consider whether to request a review of the Centre’s marking of that assessment,
    3. (c) inform Learners that they may request copies of materials to assist them in considering whether to request a review of the Centre’s marking of the assessment,
    4. (d) on such a request from a Learner, promptly make available to the Learner copies of any materials which the Learner may reasonably require to consider whether to request a review of the Centre’s marking of the assessment,
    5. (e) ensure that the arrangements in place for the review of the Centre’s marking provide that all such reviews will be carried out by Assessors who have appropriate competence and who have no personal interest in the outcome of the review being carried out,
    6. (f) ensure that an Assessor who was previously involved in the Centre’s marking of an assessment in respect of a Learner is not involved in a review of marking in respect of that assessment,
    7. (g) ensure that the arrangements in place for the review of the Centre’s marking of an assessment require the Assessor carrying out the review to consider the Centre’s marking of that assessment together with its marking of the same assessment as taken by other Learners in the same assessment series and to notify the Centre where either –
      1. (i) the marking of the assessment under review is inconsistent with the Centre’s marking of those other assessments, or
      2. (ii) its marking is inconsistent across all of the assessments considered,
    8. (h) where it has been notified of an inconsistency under Condition TQ11.2(g) –
      1. (i) correct the effect of that inconsistency where it agrees that it exists, or
      2. (ii) where it does not agree that the inconsistency exists, at the same time that it provides marks for the assessment to the awarding organisation for Moderation, notify the awarding organisation of the Assessor’s finding and the reasons why the Centre does not agree with it,
    9. (i) ensure that the arrangements in place for the review of the Centre’s marking of an assessment require the Learner to be notified promptly of the outcome of the review, of the reasons for the outcome which has been determined and of any change in mark,
    10. (j) ensure that the arrangements in place for the Learner to request a review of the Centre’s marking of an assessment require any such review to be completed so as to meet the awarding organisation’s requirements in relation to the time by which marks for the assessment and materials in respect of the assessment must be provided to it to enable it to undertake Moderation, and
    11. (k) notify Learners and the awarding organisation of how they may obtain a statement of the arrangements in place for the Learner to request a review of the Centre’s marking and provide such a statement promptly when requested.

TQ11.3 In respect of each Technical Qualification which it makes available or proposes to make available where an assessment is marked by a Centre, an awarding organisation must notify Centres (sufficiently far in advance to satisfy their reasonable planning requirements) of its requirements in relation to the time by which marks for the assessment and materials in respect of the assessment must be provided to it to enable it to undertake Moderation.

Condition TQ12 - Notification of Moderation outcome

TQ12.1 In respect of each Technical Qualification which it makes available where an assessment is marked by a Centre, an awarding organisation must notify the Centre of the outcome of Moderation so as to allow a reasonable time period for the Centre to consider whether to request a review of Moderation, taking into account any date by which the awarding organisation requires such a request to be received.

TQ12.2 The notification which an awarding organisation provides for the purposes of Condition TQ12.1 must specify the reasons for the outcome of Moderation.

Condition TQ13 - Review of Moderation

TQ13.1 In respect of each Technical Qualification which it makes available an awarding organisation must establish, maintain and comply with arrangements to carry out, on request from a Centre, a review of any Moderation by the awarding organisation of that Centre’s marking of an assessment.

  1. TQ13.2 The arrangements may –
    1. (a) provide that the awarding organisation shall only carry out a review of Moderation on payment of a fee,
    2. (b) specify other reasonable requirements for the making of a request for a review of Moderation, and
    3. (c) specify a date by which a review of Moderation must be requested.
  1. TQ13.3 Where the arrangements specify a date by which a review of Moderation must be requested, the date must –
    1. (a) be reasonable, taking into account –
      1. (i) the date by which a Centre may be notified of the outcome of Moderation in accordance with the awarding organisation’s arrangements, and
      2. (ii) the purpose of the Technical Qualification, and
    2. (b) comply with any requirements which may be published by Ofqual and revised from time to time.
  1. TQ13.4 The arrangements must provide that, on carrying out a review of Moderation
    1. (a) where the awarding organisation determines that the Moderation did not include any Moderation Error, it shall not change the outcome of Moderation,
    2. (b) where the awarding organisation determines that the Moderation included a Moderation Error, it shall change the outcome of the Moderation only to the extent necessary to correct the effect of that error, and
    3. (c) the awarding organisation shall document the reasons for any determination and for any change to the outcome of Moderation.
  1. TQ13.5 The arrangements must provide that –
    1. (a) all reviews of Moderation will be carried out by persons who have appropriate competence and who have no personal interest in the outcome of the review being carried out,
    2. (b) a person who was previously involved in the Centre’s marking of an assessment, or in Moderation in respect of that marking, must not be involved in a review of Moderation in respect of that marking,
    3. (c) prior to carrying out any review of Moderation, each person tasked with carrying out such a review shall be provided with training on how to do so in accordance with this condition,
    4. (d) prior to carrying out a review of Moderation, a person tasked with carrying out such a review shall be provided with –
      1. (i) a copy of any evidence generated by Learners (or any representation of such evidence) which was considered for the purpose of the Moderation,
      2. (ii) a copy of the record of the awarding of marks made by Assessors when that evidence was marked,
      3. (iii) a copy of any comments which Assessors recorded during the marking of that evidence,
      4. (iv) a copy of the criteria against which Learners’ performance is differentiated, and
      5. (v) the outcome of Moderation, including any changes made to the Centre’s marking, and the reasons for that outcome,
    5. (e) the awarding organisation shall monitor whether or not the persons carrying out reviews of Moderation
      1. (i) are doing so in accordance with this condition, and
      2. (ii) are making determinations which are consistent over time and consistent with determinations made by each other,
    6. (f) where the awarding organisation learns, through its monitoring or otherwise, that a review of Moderation has not been carried out in accordance with this condition, or has been carried out inconsistently, it shall take all reasonable steps to –
      1. (i) correct or, where it cannot be corrected, mitigate as far as possible the effect of the failure, and
      2. (ii) ensure that the failure does not recur,
    7. (g) the awarding organisation reports to the Centre both the outcome of the review of Moderation and, either together with that outcome or later, the reasons documented when the review of Moderation was carried out, and
    8. (h) where, on carrying out a review of Moderation, the awarding organisation discovers what it considers to be a Marking Error in the marking of an assessment, the awarding organisation includes details of the Marking Error in its report to the Centre on the outcome of the review of Moderation.
  1. TQ13.6 The arrangements must, following the awarding organisation’s notification of the outcome of the review of Moderation, provide for –
    1. (a) marks and (where appropriate) results to be updated promptly to take into account any change in the outcome of Moderation,
    2. (b) marks and (where appropriate) results to be updated promptly to correct the effect of any Marking Error notified to the Centre in accordance with this condition, and
    3. (c) reasonable steps to be taken to identify any other assessment, in relation to which there has been a similar error and to update marks and (where appropriate) results promptly to correct the effect of any error which is identified.

Application

  1. TQ13.7 Until such date as is specified in, or determined under, any notice in writing published by Ofqual under this paragraph, Condition TQ13.6 shall be replaced with ‘The arrangements must, following the awarding organisation’s notification of the outcome of the review of Moderation, provide for –
    1. (a) marks and (where appropriate) results to be updated promptly to take into account any change in the outcome of Moderation,
    2. (b) marks and (where appropriate) results to be updated promptly to correct the effect of any Marking Error notified to the Centre in accordance with this condition, and
    3. (c) reasonable steps to be taken to identify any other assessment, in relation to which there has been a similar error and to update marks and (where appropriate) results promptly to correct the effect of any error which is identified, provided that a Learner’s result shall not be updated so as to lower that result’.
  1. TQ13.8 Any such notice published by Ofqual may be –
    1. (a) issued in respect of one or more Technical Qualifications, and
    2. (b) varied or withdrawn by Ofqual at any time prior to the date specified in or determined under it.

Condition TQ14- Making Marked Assessment Materials available to Learners

  1. TQ14.1 In respect of each Technical Qualification which it makes available, an awarding organisation must establish, maintain and comply with arrangements to provide a Learner’s Marked Assessment Material to –
    1. (a) the Learner, or
    2. (b) any Relevant Centre (on the Learner’s behalf).
  1. TQ14.2 The arrangements may –
    1. (a) provide that the awarding organisation is not required to provide a copy or a representation of evidence generated by the Learner in the assessment where this is already held by the Learner or any Relevant Centre,
    2. (b) provide that the awarding organisation shall provide Marked Assessment Material only on payment of a fee,
    3. (c) provide that the awarding organisation shall provide Marked Assessment Material only on request,
    4. (d) provide that any such request must be made by a Relevant Centre (on the Learner’s behalf),
    5. (e) specify other reasonable requirements for the making of such a request, and
    6. (f) specify a date by which such a request must be received.

TQ14.3 Where no Relevant Centre exists in relation to a Learner, the arrangements must allow a Learner to request his or her Marked Assessment Material him or herself.

  1. TQ14.4 The arrangements must allow Learners and Relevant Centres a reasonable opportunity to consider whether to request –
    1. (a) an Administrative Error Review, and
    2. (b) a review of marking of the Marked Assessment Material,
  2. taking into account any date by which the awarding organisation requires such a request to be received.
  1. TQ14.5 Any date specified in the arrangements –
    1. (a) by which the awarding organisation will provide the Marked Assessment Material to the Learner (or as the case may be the Relevant Centre), or
    2. (b) by which a request for Marked Assessment Material must be received,
  2. must comply with any requirements which may be published by Ofqual and revised from time to time.

TQ14.6 The arrangements must provide that a copy of the criteria against which Learners’ performance is differentiated in respect of the assessment is made available to the Learner (or as the case may be the Relevant Centre) at the same time as, or prior to, the Marked Assessment Material.

Condition TQ15 - Administrative Error Review

TQ15.1 In respect of each Technical Qualification which it makes available, an awarding organisation must establish, maintain and comply with arrangements for it to carry out an Administrative Error Review in respect of a Learner’s Marked Assessment Material.

  1. TQ15.2 The arrangements may –
    1. (a) provide that the awarding organisation shall carry out an Administrative Error Review only on request,
    2. (b) provide that any such request must be made by a Relevant Centre (on the Learner’s behalf),
    3. (c) provide that the awarding organisation shall only carry out an Administrative Error Review on payment of a fee,
    4. (d) specify other reasonable requirements for the making of a request for an Administrative Error Review, and
    5. (e) specify a date by which an Administrative Error Review must be requested.

TQ15.3 Where no Relevant Centre exists in relation to a Learner, the arrangements must allow a Learner to request an Administrative Error Review him or herself.

  1. TQ15.4 Where the arrangements specify a date by which an Administrative Error Review must be requested, the date must –
    1. (a) be reasonable, taking into account –
      1. (i) the date by which Marked Assessment Material may be provided to a Learner in accordance with the awarding organisation’s arrangements, and
      2. (ii) the purpose of the Technical Qualification, and
    2. (b) comply with any requirements which may be published by Ofqual and revised from time to time.
  1. TQ15.5 The arrangements must provide that, on carrying out an Administrative Error Review
    1. (a) where the awarding organisation determines that the marking recorded in the Marked Assessment Material does not contain an Administrative Error, it shall not change the mark awarded,
    2. (b) where the awarding organisation determines that the marking recorded in the Marked Assessment Material contains an Administrative Error, it shall correct the effect of that error,
    3. (c) where the outcome of the Administrative Error Review is that there should be a change in mark, the awarding organisation makes any consequent change to the Learner’s result, and
    4. (d) the awarding organisation reports the outcome of the Administrative Error Review to the Learner (or as the case may be the Relevant Centre), specifying any change in mark, any change in result, and the nature of any Administrative Error which has been discovered.

TQ15.6 The arrangements must provide that all Administrative Error Reviews will be carried out by persons who have appropriate competence and who have no personal interest in the outcome of the Administrative Error Review being carried out.

Condition TQ16 Review of marking of Marked Assessment Material

TQ16.1 In respect of each Technical Qualification which it makes available, an awarding organisation must establish, maintain and comply with arrangements for it to carry out a review of marking of a Learner’s Marked Assessment Material.

  1. TQ16.2 The arrangements may –
    1. (a) provide that the awarding organisation shall carry out a review of marking only on request,
    2. (b) provide that any such request must be made by a Relevant Centre (on the Learner’s behalf),
    3. (c) provide that the awarding organisation shall only carry out a review of marking on payment of a fee,
    4. (d) specify other reasonable requirements for the making of a request for a review of marking, and
    5. (e) specify a date by which a review of marking must be requested.

TQ16.3 Where no Relevant Centre exists in relation to a Learner, the arrangements must allow a Learner to request a review of marking him or herself.

  1. TQ16.4 Where the arrangements specify a date by which a review of marking must be requested, the date must –
    1. (a) be reasonable, taking into account –
      1. (i) the date by which Marked Assessment Material may be provided to a Learner in accordance with the awarding organisation’s arrangements, and
      2. (ii) the purpose of the Technical Qualification, and
    2. (b) comply with any requirements which may be published by Ofqual and revised from time to time.
  1. TQ16.5 The arrangements must provide that, on carrying out a review of marking –
    1. (a) the Assessor shall determine whether the marking of the assessment included any Marking Error,
    2. (b) where the Assessor determines that the marking of the assessment did not include any Marking Error, the Assessor shall not change the mark,
    3. (c) where the Assessor determines that the marking of the assessment included a Marking Error, the Assessor shall correct the effect of the Marking Error but not otherwise change the mark, and
    4. (d) the Assessor shall document the reasons for any determination and for any change of mark.
  1. TQ16.6 The arrangements must provide that –
    1. (a) all reviews of marking will be carried out by Assessors who have appropriate competence and who have no personal interest in the outcome of the review being carried out,
    2. (b) an Assessor who was previously involved in the marking of a task in an assessment in respect of a Learner must not be involved in a review of marking in respect of that task,
    3. (c) prior to carrying out any review of marking, each Assessor shall be provided with training on how to carry out a review of marking in accordance with this condition,
    4. (d) prior to carrying out a review of marking, an Assessor shall be provided with a copy of the Marked Assessment Material to which the review relates and a copy of the criteria against which Learners’ performance is differentiated,
    5. (e) the awarding organisation shall monitor whether the Assessors who are carrying out reviews of marking are –
      1. (i) doing so in accordance with this condition, and
      2. (ii) are making determinations which are consistent over time and consistent with determinations made by each other,
    6. (f) where the awarding organisation learns, through its monitoring or otherwise, that a review of marking has not been carried out in accordance with this condition, or has been carried out inconsistently, it shall take all reasonable steps to –
      1. (i) correct or, where it cannot be corrected, mitigate as far as possible the effect of the failure, and
      2. (ii) ensure that the failure does not recur,
    7. (g) where the outcome of a review of marking is that there should be a change in mark, the awarding organisation makes any consequent change to the Learner’s result, and
    8. (h) the awarding organisation reports to the Learner (or as the case may be the Relevant Centre) both the outcome of the review of marking, specifying any change in mark and any change in result, and, either together with that outcome or later, the reasons documented by the Assessor carrying out the review.

Condition TQ17 Appeals process for Technical Qualifications

  1. TQ17.1 In respect of each Technical Qualification which it makes available an awarding organisation must establish, maintain and comply with an appeals process which must provide for the appeal of –
    1. (a) the outcome of any Moderation of a Centre’s marking of an assessment, following a review of Moderation in respect of that marking,
    2. (b) the result for any assessment in respect of a Learner, following a review of marking of Marked Assessment Material in respect of that assessment,
    3. (c) decisions regarding Reasonable Adjustments and Special Consideration, and
    4. (d) decisions relating to any action to be taken against a Learner or a Centre following an investigation into malpractice or maladministration.
  1. TQ17.2 The appeals process may –
    1. (a) provide that the awarding organisation shall only conduct an appeal on payment of a fee,
    2. (b) specify other reasonable requirements for the making of a request for an appeal, and
    3. (c) specify a time period during which an appeal must be requested.
  1. TQ17.3 Where the arrangements specify a time period during which an appeal must be requested, the time period must –
    1. (a) be reasonable, and
    2. (b) comply with any requirements which may be published by Ofqual and revised from time to time.
  1. TQ17.4 The appeals process must provide for –
    1. (a) all appeal decisions to be taken by persons who have appropriate competence and who have no personal interest in the decision being appealed,
    2. (b) all appeal decisions to be taken by persons who were not previously involved in any marking, Moderation, review of marking of Marked Assessment Material or review of Moderation regarding an assessment in respect of a Learner to which the appeal relates,
    3. (c) the final decision in respect of the outcome of an appeal to involve at least one decision maker who is not an employee of the awarding organisation, an Assessor working for it, or otherwise connected to it, and
    4. (d) the awarding organisation to report the outcome of an appeal to the Learner (or as the case may be the Relevant Centre), detailing the reasons for that outcome.

TQ17.5 The appeals process must not allow a specified level of attainment which has been set for the Technical Qualification to be changed.

  1. TQ17.6 For the purposes of Condition TQ17.1(a), the appeals process which an awarding organisation has in place must provide for the effective appeal of outcomes of Moderation on the basis –
    1. (a) that the Moderation (or as the case may be the review of Moderation) included a Moderation Error, and
    2. (b) that the awarding organisation did not apply procedures consistently or that procedures were not followed properly and fairly, provided that for these purposes any exercise of academic judgment in relation to the outcome of Moderation shall not constitute the application or following of a procedure.

TQ17.7 For the purposes of Condition TQ17.1(a), the appeals process which an awarding organisation has in place must provide for any request for an appeal of the outcome of Moderation of a Centre’s marking of an assessment to be made by the Centre.

  1. TQ17.8 For the purposes of Condition TQ17.1(b), the appeals process which an awarding organisation has in place must provide for the effective appeal of results on the basis –
    1. (a) that the marking of the assessment (or as the case may be the review of marking of Marked Assessment Material) included a Marking Error, and
    2. (b) that the awarding organisation did not apply procedures consistently or that procedures were not followed properly and fairly, provided that for these purposes –
      1. (i) any procedures in respect of the setting of specified levels of attainment for the Technical Qualification shall be excluded, and
      2. (ii) any exercise of academic judgment in relation to the awarding of marks shall not constitute the application or following of a procedure.
  1. TQ17.9 For the purposes of Conditions TQ17.1(b) to TQ17.1(d), the appeals process which an awarding organisation has in place –
    1. (a) may provide that where an assessment has been delivered by a Relevant Centre, any request for an appeal in respect of a Learner relating to the assessment must be made by the Relevant Centre (on the Learner’s behalf), and
    2. (b) must provide that where no Relevant Centre exists in relation to a Learner, the Learner may request an appeal him or herself.

Condition TQ18 - Relevant Centre decisions relating to Review and Appeal Arrangements

  1. TQ18.1 In respect of each Technical Qualification which it makes available, where an awarding organisation’s arrangements provide that a request under conditions TQ14 – TQ17 must be made by a Relevant Centre on a Learner’s behalf, the awarding organisation must take all reasonable steps to ensure that the Relevant Centre has in place effective arrangements for the Learner to –
    1. (a) apply to the Relevant Centre for it to make such a request, and
    2. (b) appeal a Relevant Centre’s decision that such a request should not be made, and for the Relevant Centre to determine that appeal.
  1. TQ18.2 For the purposes of this condition, an awarding organisation must take all reasonable steps to ensure that –
    1. (a) the Relevant Centre makes Learners aware of the arrangements it has in place prior to the issue of results in respect of the assessment, and
    2. (b) the Relevant Centre provides Learners with a statement of the arrangements promptly when requested.

Condition TQ19 -Target performance in relation to Review and Appeal Arrangements

TQ19.1 In respect of each Technical Qualification which it makes available, where an awarding organisation’s arrangements provide for it to provide a Learner’s Marked Assessment Material on request, it must set a target for the time period following such a request within which it will make that material available to the Learner (or as the case may be the Relevant Centre).

  1. TQ19.2 In respect of each Technical Qualification which it makes available, an awarding organisation must set targets for each of the following time periods –
    1. (a) the period following a request for a review of Moderation within which the awarding organisation will have reported the outcome of the review of Moderation to the Centre,
    2. (b) the period following a request for such a review of Moderation within which the awarding organisation will have reported both the outcome of the review of Moderation and the reasons in respect of the review to the Centre,
    3. (c) the period following a request for an Administrative Error Review within which the awarding organisation will have reported the outcome of the Administrative Error Review to the Learner (or as the case may be the Relevant Centre),
    4. (d) the period following a request for a review of marking of Marked Assessment Material within which the awarding organisation will have reported the outcome of the review of marking to the Learner (or as the case may be the Relevant Centre),
    5. (e) the period following a request for such a review of marking within which the awarding organisation will have reported both the outcome of the review of marking and the reasons in respect of the review to the Learner (or as the case may be the Relevant Centre),
    6. (f) the period following a request for an appeal within which the awarding organisation will have reported the outcome of the appeal to the Learner (or as the case may be the Relevant Centre), and
    7. (g) the period following receipt of all evidence in respect of an appeal within which the awarding organisation will have reported the outcome of the appeal to the Learner (or as the case may be the Relevant Centre).

TQ19.3 Any target time period which an awarding organisation has set in respect of a Technical Qualification must comply with any requirements which may be published by Ofqual and revised from time to time.

TQ19.4 An awarding organisation must take all reasonable steps to meet the target time periods which it has set in respect of a Technical Qualification.

Reporting

  1. TQ19.5 In respect of each Technical Qualification which it makes available, an awarding organisation must provide a report to Ofqual in respect of each year detailing the number of times that it has –
    1. (a) complied with the target time periods which it has set, and
    2. (b) failed to comply with those target time periods.
  1. TQ19.6 An awarding organisation must ensure that the report prepared in accordance with Condition TQ19.5 –
    1. (a) complies with any requirements in relation to the content or the presentation of the report which may be published by Ofqual and revised from time to time,
    2. (b) is provided to Ofqual by any date which has been specified by Ofqual in advance, and
    3. (c) is published, where required by Ofqual, by any date which has been specified by Ofqual in advance.

Condition TQ20 - Review and Appeal Arrangements and certificates

  1. TQ20.1 In respect of each Technical Qualification which it makes available, where a Learner has been assessed outside England and his or her result has been changed under the awarding organisation’s Review and Appeal Arrangements, the awarding organisation must take all reasonable steps, including having procedures in place, to –
    1. (a) revoke any certificate that it has issued to that Learner, and
    2. (b) issue a replacement certificate with a result which accurately reflects the amended mark.

Condition TQ21 - Discovery of failure in assessment processes

  1. TQ21.1 Where the application of the awarding organisation’s Review and Appeal Arrangements leads an awarding organisation to discover a failure in its assessment process, it must take all reasonable steps to –
    1. (a) identify all Learners who have been affected by the failure,
    2. (b) correct or where, it cannot be corrected, mitigate as far as possible the effect of the failure, and
    3. (c) ensure that the failure does not recur.

Guidance on Condition TQ21

Condition TQ21 requires an awarding organising to take specified action where it discovers, through a review or appeal, that there has been a failure in its assessment process that may have affected other Learners.

When conducting a review or appeal, we will expect an awarding organisation to consider where any issue that it identifies may have affected other Learners and, where the answer may be yes, to take all reasonable steps to ascertain whether this is in fact the case.

Where that investigation establishes that other Learners have been affected by a failure in its assessment process, in considering how to correct or mitigate the effect of the failure, an awarding organisation must have regard to our Guidance on making changes to incorrect results which forms part of the Guidance to the General Conditions of Recognition.

Condition TQ22 - Publication of Review and Appeal Arrangements

  1. TQ22.1 In respect of each Technical Qualification which it makes available, or proposes to make available, an awarding organisation must publish a statement of its Review and Appeal Arrangements (in one or more documents), including details of –
    1. (a) how any request for Marked Assessment Materials and each type of review and appeal must be made,
    2. (b) any date by which each type of request must be made,
    3. (c) any fee which is payable in respect of each type of request, the circumstances in which any such fee will be charged, and the circumstances in which any such fee may be refunded,
    4. (d) the target time period set in relation to each type of request under Condition TQ19.
  1. TQ22.2 The information which an awarding organisation publishes in line with Condition TQ22.1 must enable Learners and Centres to have –
    1. (a) a reasonable understanding of those arrangements, and
    2. (b) a reasonable understanding of how those arrangements relate to each other.

TQ22.3 An awarding organisation must take all reasonable steps to ensure that information which it publishes in line with Condition TQ22.1 is published sufficiently far in advance of the time at which the qualification to which it relates will be made available to Learners to satisfy the reasonable planning requirements of potential purchasers.

Guidance on the general conduct of reviews and appeals

Awarding organisations are required to have in place arrangements for the review and appeal of marking and Moderation decisions in relation to the Technical Qualifications which they make available.

  1. We set out below guidance on some points in relation to how an awarding organisation should approach the conduct of –
    1. (a) a review of Moderation under Condition TQ13,
    2. (b) an Administrative Error Review under Condition TQ15,
    3. (c) a review of marking of Marked Assessment Materials under Condition TQ16, and
    4. (d) an appeal in relation to Moderation or marking under Condition TQ17.2.


This guidance is intended to relate to the process adopted by an awarding organisation and – in relation to Conditions TQ16 and TQ17, where relevant – it should be read alongside our guidance on the substantive consideration of whether or not a Marking Error exists, as well as our Guidance on making changes to incorrect results which forms part of the Guidance to the General Conditions of Recognition.

Expert reports

As part of its review and appeal process, an awarding organisation can request expert evidence to assist with its determination. For example, it may request a report from a senior examiner.

However, where the senior examiner is not the actual decision-maker, the decision-maker should not uncritically accept the report without scrutinising its findings and challenging them where appropriate. Such an uncritical acceptance would be to delegate the making of the decision to the senior examiner preparing the report.

Such a report is one piece of evidence among others and, although it will be for the decision-maker to decide the weight to be accorded to it, that decision must be made consciously in each case applying the decision-maker’s own judgment.

Personal interest

Our conditions state that reviews and appeals should not be conducted by anyone with a personal interest in the outcome of a review or appeal.

A personal interest is a conflict of interest that relates to a particular individual. As such it falls within the definition of a conflict of interest in Condition A4.1(b) and (c).

A personal interest can be financial or non-financial in nature. So, for example, where a person carrying out an Administrative Error Review is related to the Learner who has completed the assessment, or to the original Assessor who marked it, that will be a personal interest and precluded by Condition TQ15.6. Likewise, where a person’s salary is related to the number of Administrative Errors that he or she does, or does not, identify during reviews, that too would be a personal interest.

The relevant question to ask is whether the person carrying out the review has any reason to make anything other than a decision made in good faith in line with the relevant conditions, or whether an informed and reasonable observer would conclude that such a reason exists.

Reasons

Conditions TQ12, TQ13, TQ16 and TQ17 require an awarding organisation to give reasons for its determinations on reviews and appeals.

The provision of reasons is important in a number of respects. The discipline of providing reasons may serve to improve the quality of decisions by focusing the mind of the decision-maker. Robust reasons will also promote public confidence in the standards set in regulated qualifications, and may assist a Centre or Learner to more readily accept the awarding organisation’s determination. Importantly, by allowing the Centre or Learner to make an informed decision as to whether it has good grounds to disagree with a determination, the provision of reasons supports any opportunity to request a further review or appeal.

  1. The reasons provided by an awarding organisation should be adequate to fulfil these functions. What is adequate will depend on the context, including the type of issues raised in the request, the nature of the assessment and the type of review or appeal. However, we will expect any reasons provided by an awarding organisation to display the following basic attributes –
    1. (a) Reasons must be proper, adequate and intelligible.
    2. (b) Reasons must engage with the issues raised in the request for the review or appeal and allow the Centre or Learner to understand why a particular concern has not been accepted.
    3. (c) Reasons do not need to be lengthy but should allow the Centre or Learner to understand what conclusions have been reached on the principal important issues raised in the request.
    4. (d) Reasons should refer to the mark scheme, where appropriate. It will be insufficient to simply state that a Learner has not included certain material in his or her response to a task without showing how the inclusion of that material is required by the mark scheme.
    5. (e) Where an expert report is relied on, the reasons must outline what weight has been accorded to that report, and why.
    6. (f) There is no requirement for reasons to be recorded in a particular form. For example, for certain reviews, annotations on a script could be compliant with the requirement to provide reasons. However, in whatever form they are presented there must be sufficient detail to make the reasons clear.

Further opportunities for review or appeal

When providing its determination on a review or appeal to a Centre or Learner, an awarding organisation should clearly set out any further opportunity for review or appeal. Where such a further opportunity exists, an awarding organisation should not give the impression that its determination is necessarily the final part of the process.

Guidance on considering Marking Errors on a review or appeal

In our guidance above we address some procedural aspects relating to how reviews and appeals are conducted. In the guidance below we focus more specifically on an awarding organisation’s substantive determination as to whether or not a Marking Error exists.

In relation to marking, an awarding organisation is required to have in place arrangements:

  • for the review of the marking undertaken by the awarding organisation (Condition TQ16), and
  • for the appeal of the result of an assessment following a review (Condition TQ17).

Anybody carrying out such a review or appeal must consider the original mark given by a trained Assessor and only make a change to the mark where the marking of the assessment included a Marking Error (as defined in Condition TQ23). An appeal may be brought on the basis that the marking (either in the original marking or on review) included a Marking Error, as well as on procedural grounds.

A Marking Error is defined as:

The awarding of a mark which could not reasonably have been awarded given the evidence generated by the Learner, the criteria against which Learners’ performance is differentiated and any procedures of the awarding organisation in relation to marking, including in particular where the awarding of a mark is based on -

(a) an Administrative Error [as defined in Condition TQ23],

(b) a failure to apply such criteria and procedures to the evidence generated by the Learner where that failure did not involve the exercise of academic judgment, or

(c) an unreasonable exercise of academic judgment.


Our guidance below comprises both general guidance on the purpose of the provisions and guidance on how we expect awarding organisations to approach the consideration of whether there has been a Marking Error. Conditions TQ13 and TQ17 contain provisions relating to arrangements for the review of Moderation of a Centre’s marking undertaken by the awarding organisation and appeals of the outcome of Moderation following a review. Anybody carrying out such a review must only make a change to the outcome of Moderation where the Moderation included a Moderation Error (which has a definition in Condition TQ23 which is similar to the definition of Marking Error). An appeal may be brought on the basis that the Moderation included a Moderation Error , as well as on procedural grounds.

Below, we refer only to reviews of marking and appeals and the consideration of Marking Errors. However, the principles in our guidance apply to the consideration of Marking Errors in Centre-marked assessments and to the consideration of Moderation Errors (on a review or appeal).

Purpose of considering Marking Errors

A review or appeal may identify that there had been errors in the marking. Examples of this could include a clear and unambiguous failure to properly apply the mark scheme or the identification of unmarked creditworthy material (the latter being an Administrative Error which is encompassed in the definition of a Marking Error). Such errors must be corrected.

However, for many assessments, it is a misunderstanding to say that Learners have always been either given a ‘right mark’ or a ‘wrong mark’. This is because those assessments require Assessors to use their academic judgment in deciding what mark to award.

It will often be the case that two trained Assessors, exercising their academic judgment reasonably and without making any mistake, would award different marks to the same Learner’s answer. Following a review or an appeal, one such mark should not be replaced with another such mark, simply because those carrying out the review or the appeal would have given a different mark if they were the original Assessor. We do not consider that one such mark should be replaced with another (often higher) mark, as then Learners who request a review or appeal would be unfairly advantaged over those who do not.

A review or appeal should not be an opportunity for a Learner to have a second go at getting a better mark. Such a review or appeal should only adjust a mark where there has been a Marking Error.

Guidance on approach to considering Marking Errors

On any review of marking (in line with Condition TQ16.5 and the definition of Marking Error in Condition TQ23) the Assessor carrying out the review must consider whether or not the original mark awarded could reasonably have been awarded. The definition of Marking Error does not set out an exhaustive list of what would constitute unreasonable marking and the Assessor must consider whether there has been such marking in each individual case.

However, the Assessor should take the following steps for each task in the assessment:

  • Determine whether there has been an Administrative Error in the marking, such as a failure to mark a Learner’s response, and correct any such error.
  • Determine whether the task is one where there are only ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ marks or one where Assessors are required to exercise their academic judgment. If there are only ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ marks, determine whether the ‘right’ mark was given. Where the ‘right’ mark was not given, correct the mark. Otherwise, make no change to the mark.
  • If the task requires Assessors to exercise their academic judgment:
    • First, determine whether the marking contains any errors which do not relate to an exercise of academic judgment. Where such an error is found, correct the mark.
    • Then determine whether the Assessor’s marking contained any unreasonable exercise of academic judgment. Where this is found, the task should be remarked to the extent necessary to remove the effect of that unreasonable exercise of judgment.
    • Where there is no Marking Error make no change to the mark.

In making any of the above decisions on a review, the Assessor should have considered the Learner’s answer, the mark scheme and any of the awarding organisation’s marking policies which are relevant. The Assessor should document the reasons for each decision which is made.

We expect a similar approach to be followed on an appeal where an awarding organisation is considering whether there has been a Marking Error, with the exception that Condition TQ17 does not require that the appeal panel itself must carry out any remarking which is required.

In Condition TQ16.5(d), the reasons which are required to be documented on review are ‘the reasons for any determination and for any change of mark’. The determinations referred to are decisions, about whether or not the marking included a Marking Error. If a Marking Error is found, the reasons for the change of mark which is necessary to correct the effect of that Marking Error should be documented in line with our guidance on reasons elsewhere in this document. Condition TQ16.6(h) requires that the reasons to be provided are the reasons documented by the Assessor.

Condition TQ17.8 requires the appeals process to provide for the effective appeal of results on the basis that the marking of the assessment (or as the case may be the review of marking of Marked Assessment Material) included a Marking Error. In other words, an appeal may be brought on the basis that the original marking (unchanged following a review) included a Marking Error or that the remarking (which took place on a review) included a Marking Error.

An appeal should consider the original marking, the outcome of the review, including where relevant any remarking, and take into account any other relevant factors. The appeal panel must uphold the appeal if it considers that the original marking (unchanged following review) or any remarking on a review included a Marking Error.

If the appeals process is to be effective, in most cases the reasons documented on review will be relevant information which should inform consideration of the appeal.

In marking (or remarking) an assessment, Assessors can only make judgments in line with the mark scheme and other relevant procedures. If, following the awarding of marks, an awarding organisation considers that there is a problem with a mark scheme or a relevant procedure, the awarding organisation should take steps to resolve the issue in line with its Conditions of Recognition. We would not generally expect such problems to be dealt with through the review and appeal process.

Guidance on academic judgment

In considering whether or not there has been a Marking Error, the person(s) carrying out a review or appeal will often need to consider whether or not the marking of a task included any unreasonable exercise of academic judgment.

Assessors are appointed by awarding organisations because they have particular skills in the relevant subject area. Assessors are then trained by awarding organisations to ensure that they are prepared to carry out marking appropriately.

Assessors are often required to use these skills to make a professional judgment of what mark should be awarded to a particular answer. We refer to this as exercising academic judgment.

Where Assessors are required to exercise academic judgment, there will often be different marks which could reasonably be awarded for an answer (and a range of ways in which marks can be attributed to that answer) without a Marking Error being made. It is only where the Assessor determines that the original marking represents an unreasonable application of academic judgment that the mark should be changed.

The starting point for considering whether there has been such an exercise of academic judgment is therefore always the mark which is being challenged (and not any alternative mark which the Learner/Centre considers should have been awarded).

Reviews or appeals will be required to be considered in many different subjects and contexts. ‘Unreasonable’ should be given its normal meaning and a common sense approach should be adopted, taking into account all of the circumstances of the particular review or appeal (which include the mark scheme and relevant marking procedures).

Examples of cases where it might be appropriate to find that there has been an unreasonable exercise of academic judgment include but are not limited to:

  • Where the marking of an answer is unduly strict or lenient, beyond the bounds of what might reasonably be expected of a trained Assessor properly applying the mark scheme.
  • Where a piece of information given as part of an answer was not given a mark but where any Assessor acting reasonably and who had the appropriate knowledge and training should have given a mark.
  • Where the marking of an answer suggests that the Assessor had no rationale for his/her awarding of marks.

An exercise of academic judgment will not be unreasonable simply because a Learner/Centre considers that an alternative mark should have been awarded, even if the Learner/Centre puts forward evidence supporting the alternative mark. A person carrying out a review or appeal should not consider whether an alternative mark put forward by a Learner/Centre would be a more appropriate exercise of academic judgment.

Awarding organisations have obligations to ensure that those carrying out reviews of marking are provided with training in relation to their role (Condition TQ16.6(c)) and monitored to ensure they are performing their role correctly and consistently (Condition TQ16.6(e)).

We expect that awarding organisations should, in line with these obligations, take particular steps to develop consistent practice over time in the making of decisions on whether there has been any unreasonable exercise of academic judgment leading to a Marking Error.