Over 90,000 exam grades changed

The figure is the highest recorded and an increase of 17 per cent compared to the number of changes last year. Overall Ofqual reported that there was 572,000 queries over grades, another increase of 27 per cent compared to the previous year.

Appeals against results meant that 62,000 grades were changed at GCSE and 28,500 at A-level. The data shows that the number of grades changed after being remarked has doubled in three years.  

Head teachers have already made complaints regarding the quality of marking and the subsequent damaging impact of incorrect grades.

Ofqual is launching a consultation to overhaul the appeals system, with annual figures revealing a significant increase in the remarking of exam papers.

Chris King, chair of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference group of independent schools said: “Every child sitting an exam deserves to trust that their paper will be marked accurately. So it is very disappointing to see yet another huge upsurge in false GCSE and A level grades.

"The implications for pupils are grave - for some it has meant they have wrongly missed out on a place at their preferred sixth form, further education college or university of choice."

However, King argued: “True statistics are likely to be even higher, as we know many state schools do not have the time and resources to put in lengthy, complicated and expensive appeals.”

Head teachers’ leaders have also warned that fewer appeals are likely from state schools because of the cost of re-marking, with fees costing between £20-60 per paper.

Under current regulations, exam boards will refund the re-marking fee if an exam is changed, but not if the grade remains the same. Of the papers submitted for re-marks, 480,000 grades were not changed.

The Joint Council for Qualifications (CQ), representing exam boards, maintained only a relatively small proportion of exam grades had been found to need changing, in a system with 50,000 markers and 15 million individual scripts.

Michael Turner, CQ's director general, commented: ”As data published today by Ofqual shows, each year over eight million GCSE and A level grades are awarded to a high level of accuracy. Although the number of enquiries about results increased in 2015, the proportion of all grades changed was 1.1 per cent.”

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