A myth-busting guide: what happens if you’re not happy with your results?

Tuesday 17 Sep 2019

At this time of year, there's often lots of discussion and media coverage about reviews of marking. But some of it is wrong.

Here's the official guide to the process, dispelling some common myths:

If you’re not happy with your result you can ask for a re-mark, right?

Wrong.

Even though many people talk about ‘re-marks’, exam boards have never actually re-marked exam papers from scratch. The process has always been a review of marking – ie one of our best examiners reviews how the original examiner marked the paper to see if they applied the mark scheme correctly.

In 2016, Ofqual introduced new regulations for the conduct of reviews of marking, moderation and appeals, to make sure that a review of marking is exactly that, and not a re-mark.

Reviews of marking are carried out by just one person, right?

Wrong.

A review of marking is carried out in the same way as the original marking. So, in most cases, the answers on a script are split up, anonymised and sent to a number of different expert reviewers who check that the original examiner applied the mark scheme correctly on that particular question.

This means that the reviewer is able to review the marking impartially, without knowing anything about the student or which examiner did the original marking.

If you want a review of marking the exam board will charge up front, right?

Wrong.

We never ask for any money up front and, if the grade changes as a result of the review, we don’t charge at all. We only charge at the end of the process if the grade doesn’t change.

Ofqual’s figures published in 2018 show that 79% of reviews didn’t result in a grade change.

Grade changes mean there was something badly wrong with the original marking, right?

Wrong.

Even when a grade does change, it‘s often when a student very close to a grade boundary receives a very small increase of just one or two marks.

All exam boards publish their grade boundaries so teachers and students can see how close their mark is to each boundary. The most commonly-challenged grades are GCSE grade 3 (27% of 9-1 grades challenged) and A-level grade B (33% of A-level grades challenged).

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