A level remarks - advice needed!

(30 Posts)
Bluemoon49 Sun 21-Aug-16 00:20:39

Wondering if any teachers/exam officers or just people with experience of A level remarks could offer some advice...

DD got results on Thursday, she got four Bs. She was very disappointed with this because she was predicted AABB and her uni offer was AAB. The uni have actually accepted her anyway but she is still upset about results.

On close inspection of UMS marks for each module and adding up marks we have found she is four UMS marks off an A overall for media, as her A2 coursework and exam were both 3/4 marks off A grade and she got As in exam and coursework last year. We are considering a remark for this subject in the hope it may be bumped up four marks and therefore an A overall.

For her English language it's a bit more complicated. She was hoping she would manage an A overall and worked out that if her coursework and exam were both near full marks she would do it. The coursework is one mark shy of an A but the exam has been graded a C. DD is shocked by this because she was predicted an A and she did lots of revision and practice, she felt that she was well prepared and thought the exam went really well, in fact she says it was her best exam. She answered both questions fully, spent the full hour on each of them, used plenty of terminology/theories/context etc, brought out lots of language features in the text and yet it has come out as 77 ums which is a C grade, and not even a high C, it's only 5 marks in. She can't understand this as she just can't believe that what she wrote would be graded that low. Obviously she knows the mark scheme and as part of revision looked at examiner reports and example essays so she knows what sort of thing you have to do to get a decent grade and she can't believe that what she did could be a C. The only thing she can think of is that she could possibly have picked out too many things to discuss and therefore the analysis may not have been as detailed as it should have been, but this still should not warrant such a low mark.

So she is wondering whether there could have been some sort of mistake in the marking or perhaps a clerical error as it just seems strange. She has approached college for advice but they are not very helpful - her tutor is on annual leave until next week and the exams officer simply sent her a form to fill out in an email with instructions to send it back with money, but didn't really offer any advice about the process.

Our concern is that marks can go down as well as up, although DD says that because media is so near an A it's not going to go down to a C, and the English would have to have been really bad for it to get put down any further so it's likely that whatever happens she will still be left with at least the four Bs. It's a lot of money though - we're looking at over £100 for the two remarks (thinking of requesting the english exam script as well) and it's a lot to pay for it not to change.

She does have her first choice uni place and its a RG so I think she should just leave it but she is upset that she didn't reach her personal goal and she really feels that for the amount of work she's put in she deserves better - I can vouch for that, she has definitely had many late nights writing out long coursework essays (which have mostly been A grades) and doing revision so it's annoying to have missed out on A grades by a few marks and a weird exam. She says there are people on her course with A* and As and she doesn't feel good enough to go to uni now and can't really get excited about it!

I am happy to pay the money but I suppose I just want some advice about how the remarking usually works - I've heard they have changed the rules this year, so could this have an effect? Does it sound like it might be worth it to go for the remarks/how likely is it that grades will go up?

For media she is four UMS off the A grade, for English she would need an extra 34 UMS overall but if the C grade exam is wrong that could happen. There are options to just get scripts back or do a clerical check first but this could end up costing more if we then go for the remark, plus more time. Not sure whether it's best just to go for both remarks straight away? confused

Also, if any overall grades did go down, say she ended up with three Bs and a C, would she have to inform uni that she has been accepted to and would this cause her to loose place?

Any advice or experience would be greatly appreciated! smile

noblegiraffe Sun 21-Aug-16 00:37:56

Remark rules have changed so that only a clear error will change the marks, not a difference in interpretation.

Before the changes only about 1% of remarks ended in a grade change.

TBH I think you need to save your money and start focusing on university.

user1467153197 Sun 21-Aug-16 00:40:50

I agree with previous post if she has been accepted on the course she wanted that is the purpose of the A levels and has been achieved - remarks can go down as well as up! Congratulations on her success by the way xx

Berthatydfil Sun 21-Aug-16 00:42:36

I would say save your money - she's got into her first choice uni. I would be encouraging her to move on now and look forward to starting university.

I have read that the remark guidance to examiners is much tighter this year so there may be no impact on her grades.
My ds was 2 marks off an A last year -he thought he had done better we got a copy of the paper and his teacher reviewed it with him and he was surprised at the silly errors he had made and simply wasn't aware of (small number but they all count).
In the end we decided against paying for the remark and he resat.

You may not get what you want from a remark - in fact grades can go down as well as up. Given she's dropped grades but they have still accepted her I would be extremely reluctant to do anything that could jepordise her offer. Im sure you would have to notify them you were doing it and they would probably need to know the outcome. In the stress of the exam she may have made some errors or misread a question etc and the grade given may be accurate or could even worse be adjusted down. So I think I would dissuade her from the remark if you can.
They will be giving out accommodation details etc over the next few days and putting herself into limbo over this remark may mean she may miss out on that process.

Decorhate Sun 21-Aug-16 06:47:32

You can ask for a copy of her script I believe so if you request that she could discuss with her teacher so she could understand what happened. Not sure if you can still ask for a remark after that though?

It might help her go put it to rest and move on

Coconutty Sun 21-Aug-16 08:10:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Million2One Sun 21-Aug-16 08:33:57

Ask for a transcript - the afterwards you can ask for a remark.

bevelino Sun 21-Aug-16 08:39:26

Bluemoon if her marks cannot go down so that it affects her overall grade then you have little to lose apart from the cost. The remark process may give your dd closure whatever the outcome. A girl in dd's friendship circle remark went from a D to an A this year; and it is well known that marking errors do happen.

bleedingnora Sun 21-Aug-16 08:51:34

Don't let this derail her focus on starting uni and all that entails.
In the grand scheme of things as life goes on, what you got for A levels doesn't really matter.
The exams and formats change so often that even after a few years it is impossible to compare so they become more meaningless imo.
See them as a stepping stone to the next phase and not a judgement on her value play this point.
She is in to a great uni and should focus on that.

If she is so confused by the C then I would def ask for the paper and go over it with her teacher. If it stands out a mile that it is wrong then try a remark

Wisewisewords Sun 21-Aug-16 12:58:32

You can ask for a copy of the paper and let her teachers look at it when they are back in school. I would imagine the marks are a question of judgement though for English. We requested for maths so a bit more clear cut. We got a remark after this on one of the papers we requested a copy for. You have to request a copy pretty quickly though as there is a deadline. They arrived in a couple of days. Good luck with it.

Bluemoon49 Sun 21-Aug-16 13:54:28

Are the new remarking rules definitely in effect for this summer? From what I've read they only finalised the proposals this May, will they have properly implemented the new system as didn't they have to agree what constitutes a 'marking error'?

The English is surely unlikely to go down a further 6 ums, dragging it down to a D for the exam and a C overall. DD is confident she didn't do that badly.

I know it makes sense to focus on university now but she did put a lot of work in and can't help feeling disappointed. It would perhaps be a good idea to go ahead with it if only to get closure, as Decorhate and bevelino said. Thanks for all your advice/thoughts.

Shadowboy Sun 21-Aug-16 15:19:54

Always request a script photocopy first to send to a teacher to look at. Remember that marks can go down as well as up. We had a student who had a remark and his paper went down 10 raw marks (16 UMS) because he sent it off before I had looked at it. To be honest if she got into uni I would leave it- her uni results will be what gets her into a job.

Just5minswithDacre Sun 21-Aug-16 15:25:16

BBBB being waved through for an AAB offer is pretty good going.

There's certainly an argument for enjoying the relief and immersing in uni preparation, isn't there?

OurBlanche Sun 21-Aug-16 15:33:35

My advice to all my students was... spend the day ringing your Uni, see if they will take you anyway.

Tomorrow we will request a transcript if we still need to... then we will ask for a re-mark if necessary.

That coupled with the sage advice "Your GCSE results got your bum on a seat in front of me. With few exceptions, no one will ask about them ever again. Once your A Levels get your bum on a Uni seat, few people will ask about them ever again. And in a year's time you will no longer care that the bitch/bastard who marked you paper got it wrong and stole a grade!"

The one exception to that was a girl who achieved A A . I was incensed as she was an A* student who had gone into her last exam only needing to get a D grade to get A overall. So we got her transcript back and it had been VERY badly marked. She was given her A* and allwas well.

But there is usually an incredibly fine balance between wanting the better grade and fearing losing out and getting one lower.

Sorry, my best advice, hidden in there, was "Go to Uni and forget about it" smile

KayJBee Sun 21-Aug-16 15:48:37

I see a lot of remarks and to go up by 4 UMS is a very very big ask. I don't have actual statistics but very few get any extra marks at all (less than 10%) l and those that do, it will be 1 or 2 UMS, not 4. Remember an extra mark does not neccessarily mean a grade change either, if they got 1 more UMS but needed 2 for the next grade up etc. I'd agree with the PP that it's only around 1% that change grades after a remark.
If the Uni have accepted her anyway, I'd leave that one.

There is still time to get a priority script back to look at the English paper, it may be worth it, for her peace of mind more than anything. If she really thinks she'd done better, worth going through it with a teacher and if there is something glaringly obviously wrong, then get it remarked. You'll have to be quick to get the priority script back though. Do not do it without seeing the script and running it past a teacher though, if she's only 6 UMS away from a D, it's a small but real risk that it could go down.

noblegiraffe Sun 21-Aug-16 15:50:28

From what I've read they only finalised the proposals this May, will they have properly implemented the new system as didn't they have to agree what constitutes a 'marking error'?

In education this is considered 'loads of time' to implement a new system.

Headofthehive55 Sun 21-Aug-16 16:01:22

Id go for a photocopy transcript and then re mark if warranted.

Similar situation for my DD two years ago. The go to uni advice is fine but if you decide you are unhappy after all and the course isn't for you later down the line you might be pleased you made the effort to secure a better grade for any potential re application.

My DD hasn't really enjoyed her insurance choice but is a bit stuck for options.

LockedOutOfMN Sun 21-Aug-16 16:09:44

Teacher here, I'd say get a copy of the script back for Media and show it to the teacher / HoD and on their recommendation you could ask for a re-mark.

In my experience, 10-12% of scripts sent for re-mark see a change, most typically going up by 1 or 2 UMS marks, so only worth doing if you're close to a grade boundary. Never experienced a re-mark going down in marks. Never experienced a coursework mark being changed.

Good luck to your daughter at university!

Bluemoon49 Sun 21-Aug-16 20:16:55

BBBB being waved through for an AAB offer is pretty good going.

This is part of the reason she's upset, she knows that its rare to be accepted onto an AAB course with her grades and most other people doing the course (who she has spoken to on facebook) have A*s or at least one A grade and she feels rubbish compared to them.

There's certainly an argument for enjoying the relief and immersing in uni preparation, isn't there?

sadly no, not when she feels that she is not good enough to go. She's totally miserable, she can't get into being excited about uni at all. People are saying congratulations and family want to go out for meal to celebrate but she says she doesn't want to, she's dreading people asking about her grades...she does have anxiety and low self esteem so this has hit her particularly hard sad

Bluemoon49 Sun 21-Aug-16 20:19:10

Good point Headofthehive55 - hadn't even thought about that.

OurBlanche Sun 21-Aug-16 20:35:34

Nobody asks about grades when you get to Uni. Honest. They are all worrying over their own little 'failings'.

If the Uni accepted her that quickly you can be 1000% sure that they have not had as many AABs as they thought they would get. Many others will have been made loer offers too - this year it is already being reported that reduced offers aren't rare, lots of courses in lots of Unis are making redcuded offers.

And in 20 years expeiences in A levels I can tell her that reduced offers were ALWAYS par for any course (exepct Oxbridge and a few others)

Basically you mau need to be a bit brutal: she has 2 options: she can believe that she will fail and become a self fulfilling prophecy or she can take full advantage ofthis 'error' and enjoy every bloody monent of her degree!

New life, new start - enjoy it, don't be so bloody miserable.

I know that is uber simplistic and she will find it very hard to do, but if she could just try a little bit... she may enjoy herslef smile

Just5minswithDacre Sun 21-Aug-16 20:42:49

It's just such a terrible shame that BBBB isn't recognised as representing the solid achievement (and heavy workload) that it does.

Just5minswithDacre Sun 21-Aug-16 20:43:46

Sorry, badly phrased. It's the sixth formers getting those grades who seem to feel their not good enough. The pressure is so intense.

Just5minswithDacre Sun 21-Aug-16 20:44:21

They're^ <screams quietly>

Headofthehive55 Sun 21-Aug-16 21:07:13

I understand how it can affect people. My DD didn't celebrate either. I tried to be positive in those few weeks until uni to try and get her excited. It didn't work really. It's a rubbish system.

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