IMPORTANT info about remarks (A-Level and GCSE)

(28 Posts)
polarpercy Sat 27-Aug-16 15:08:26

I've seen a few threads with posters talking about getting remarks where grades were close to boundaries. There have been rule changes this year which mean:
- marks will only change if there has been an error in marking (in totalling marks or applying the mark scheme)
- marks will not be changed just because a second marker would have interpreted the answer or mark scheme differently.

The Guardian sums this change up quite succinctly.

Ofqual have also set out their reasoning for this change with the argument being that it creates a fairer system so as not to disadvantage schools or students who cannot afford to pay for remarks.

OCR also set out what this means for parents/students or schools seeking a review (not remark) of papers. Edexcel also provide a handy summary for students.

Please do speak to your school/son or daughter's school before going for a review of the exam paper, as with the changes it would seem that grade changes are more unlikely.

errorofjudgement Tue 30-Aug-16 07:03:53

Thanks for the link to the Guardian article. I'm astonished that OFQUAL have made these changes, if I read it correctly, according to the article 506k challenges resulted in 90k grade changes, that's nearly 1 in 5 or 20%!
How the flip are students and parents supposed to have confidence in a system that incorrectly grades 1 in 5 papers? And that's based just on those who appeal so the true figure could be much higher.
My DS would've lost his university place if we hadn't been able to appeal and a re-examiner (who is a senior examiner I think) found that DS had been denied 12 marks on 1 physics paper, so hardly a ringing endorsement of the first marker.

FernieB Thu 01-Sep-16 14:01:20

It does seem a bit harsh, but just to let people know - we've just had a GCSE paper remarked and got the result back today. DD was 2 marks off the higher grade originally and she has now been awarded it, so you can still be successful. Exam board was AQA.

LadyPenelope68 Thu 01-Sep-16 14:07:42

We've had a remark back today for DS's AS level. A in one paper, U in another, resulting in an overall result of D when predicted A*. Second paper has been remarked and DS awarded an overall A*!

Huge cock up/error in marking that paper for sure, absolutely disgusted by the whole thing.

LadyPenelope68 Thu 01-Sep-16 14:08:58

I agree Fernie, a 1 in 5 paper marked incorrectly is totally unacceptable. Seems these markets need better training.

whynewnham Thu 01-Sep-16 17:01:19

I was speaking to a member of the SLT at a large sixth form college this week. They had just seen an A level paper go up by 22 marks, more than 2 grades. Many of the college's teachers also mark papers for the exam boards.

Apparently the teachers are deluged with papers by the exam boards and expected to mark them all at the end of long days at work, but if they hold up their hands to say they can't deal with so many and ask for fewer they are simply never asked again.
They also said that the boards try and persuade the college to change to their exam board by offering big discounts to undercut their rivals no wonder corners are cut and marking is unreliable.

There should be one board and a higher initial entry fee to ensure quality, not a race to the bottom between the boards.

DoctorDonnaNoble Fri 02-Sep-16 06:31:45

Our deputy head has told us that actually the advice to senior examiners (he is one) has not changed and this is what it always was. Sounds to me like they are trying to discourage remarking as it is seen (rightly) as unfair as only those who can afford it do it.

catslife Fri 02-Sep-16 10:20:36

I think the OP means that going for a remark just because a candidate is close to a grade boundary is unlikely to be worth it. It is possible for examiners to be too generous (have seen it happen). The examples given above are unusual, but if grades are significantly different from those predicted, the candidate doesn't think there were any problems with the way they answered the questions and a teacher thinks that it is worthwhile then go for it.
PS If it's any comfort ladyP any examiner who was this inaccurate wouldn't be offered any more marking .......ever.

errorofjudgement Fri 02-Sep-16 21:56:56

I can't help feeling that the exam boards need to resolve the issues with their markers rather than blame students for wanting a remark when obviously they are making so many errors.
A 20% error rate would not be accepted in industry, and is a poor reward for 2 years work from students.
In fact is there any other organisation that would accept such a high error rate? Genuine question btw, the industry I work in has 99.5% SLA otherwise we incur penalties.

booklooker Sat 03-Sep-16 18:36:16

I thoroughly agree errorofjudgement. Such a wide range of marks is unacceptable.

Some years ago I did training to mark O'level (Overseas school) Mathematics. We were told that if the same paper were marked by two different markers, the discrepancy should be no more than 2%, and that should be in the same question.

Gmbk Sat 03-Sep-16 18:41:45

Thing is with stuff like maths it's easy (most of the time!).

Subjective subjects like English essays, art etc all have mark schemes but these are very easy to interpret differently. Examiners want to reward where possible but the huge variety in answers means that even the most comprehensive mark scheme won't covered everything.

It's not like a multiple choice quiz with right or wrong answers.

booklooker Sat 03-Sep-16 19:17:23

Gmbk, I would hate to mark an essay. Unfortunately that is exactly what I have had to do when marking IB Diploma Extended Essays in mathematics.

It is awful, I have grade estimated B to one student, only to have it moderated to a D, another student I estimated a B to was awarded an A.

I am sure that we would both agree that a Maths essay is very little like an English essay. I just wanted to acknowledge your frustration.

errorofjudgement Sun 04-Sep-16 07:41:38

"Thing is with stuff like maths it's easy (most of the time)"

Well you would think so!
However when my DS A2 physics paper was remarked and an additional 12 marks given on the one paper, then you have to question the competence of the examiners.
The teaching unions are very powerful, so if the issue is that examiners (generally teachers) are being put under undue pressure, perhaps you should get the union to take this up with OFQUAL. It's a cause that parents would support.

swingofthings Mon 05-Sep-16 13:23:59

I'm sure there's been a cock up with DD PE exam. She got an A and an A* at both mocks and it is a subject finds easy ( got As in all three sciences). She also thought she'd done very well and she has always shown to be very accurate. She got A*s at all assessments but somehow got a D at the exam. It is her only B grade (got A and A*s) in all other subjects.

I'm convinced that something went wrong with the marking and wanted to challenge but DD doesn't want to. She says that it isn't worth it and doesn't really matter. She is right of course and I should move on too but clearly finding much harder than her. Still got to go with her decision. Very frustrating!

Monopolymama Mon 05-Sep-16 15:49:39

My DS lost out on his firm choice in uni this year . His A level went up on re-mark but by the time his re-mark came back all the accommodation had gone - totally devastating- shocking that had his paper been marked correctly in the first place he would be going to his firm choice .

zazas Mon 05-Sep-16 17:50:02

We are in the middle of all this at the moment...sigh. DD has received an E in one of her A2 History papers which has left her with a B overall and no university place - or at least where she wants to go. All her AS exams were high As (one with 100 ums points) and she only needed a low C in the A2 paper for an A. Her teacher (extremely experienced) has received the paper back and has said she has been harshly and unfairly marked and wants her to have it remarked - which we will I guess although there are no clerical errors - as in the numbers add up! Therefore this new way of re marking seems that it won't help her - sigh! These rogue marks (markers) can have an enormous impact on a young person's life - we know of quite a few students that have gone up 2 grades after a re-mark and got into the course/university of their choice - crazy that their 'future' can hinge on one person correctly marking a 2 hour period of their life and determining their 'life'!

Monopolymama Tue 06-Sep-16 07:49:18

My DS's History went up 7 ums at AS level and a grade- I was nervous at getting history remarked but the school insisted after seeing the paper - they were correct. The numbers added up but the market had not given credit to sources used where they were instructed to on the mark scheme etc etc Given that his grade went up in GCSE history too it's fair to say I'm sceptical about the attention paid to marking . This year it was another paper - History was fine however my DD loves history too but given the issues I've had I'm nervous about letting her do A level history when the time comes .

ITCouldBeWorse Tue 06-Sep-16 07:57:28

Does anyone know when the boards moved from paper copies of scripts to scanned versions ? I wonder if this made a difference.

From the markers I know, they used to sit and mark quite formally. Now they take a laptop on hols, or whilst travelling and mark on screen.

I think the process is quite different and could easily impact on the approach and quality of marking.

birdlover1977 Tue 06-Sep-16 11:10:16

So pleased for my DD. The school have just received her remark back for GCSE English Language she has gone from a grade C to B. The school didn't even tell us they were sending it off for remarking so that was a very pleasant surprise.

janinlondon Tue 06-Sep-16 11:42:35

We have had remarks back today too. All the ones I know of were successful in moving up a grade.

Horsemad Wed 07-Sep-16 00:22:09

I've just heard of somebody who had their Geog A2 remarked and it went up 20 UMS points!

They had an offer for Cambridge which they didn't meet but once their paper was re-marked they appealed and got in.

FozzieMK Thu 08-Sep-16 11:38:13

My eldest DD's Maths GCSE re-mark stayed at the same grade, now awaiting DD2's English Literature GCSE which was one mark away from a B.

derektheladyhamster Thu 08-Sep-16 20:11:20

The whole class is having their food and nutrition coursework remoderated, and DS is having his poetry paper remarked as it was graded a C which bought his grade down to a B. 2 marks off an A

ChocolateWombat Fri 09-Sep-16 18:41:08

It's worth remembering that marks can go down too....and if you do, you have to take the lower mark. I know a boy who had one module go down by 2 grades.
Usually people only out in for a remark if they are near the next grade boundary, so if there is a small drop, they don't go down a grade.
Interestingly, as the days pass after results, remarks tend to go up less - think they become meaner and resist more.

neuname Thu 15-Sep-16 14:00:03

I hope this thread didn't put anyone off asking for remarks. DD had 2 borderline (less than 1%) GCSEs upgraded to A*, and we were advised by the school to request them because she was so close to the boundary. One is an A level choice so very important to her.

So next years cohort I would advise you to talk to the school and take their advice.

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