A'level tutor recommends a remark - how often do they actually upgrade?

(65 Posts)
NigellasGuest Fri 19-Aug-16 15:02:41

DD got a disappointing C for English A'level. I am aware this is actually a decent A'level, but the breakdown is as follows:
Her college tutors are flabbergasted by the U, which brought the overall grade down to a C from her predicted A/B. DD is shocked, and so is everyone else. We will get it remarked but I don't want to get my hopes up too much. And I don't want DD to get her hopes up too much either, which is of course the most important thing. But does that strike anyone else as a little odd? If the breakdown had been E,E,D,U, for example, then fair play. But U along with A's?

I remember when DD came out of the exam for which she got the U. Her feeling was that it had gone reasonably well, and she is normally pretty objective in her opinions although this is of course a situation in which it's hard to be that objective. I guess what I'm saying is that she didn't come out of the exam and say she'd had a breakdown in the middle of it, or mention something drastic happening! I mean, how badly do you actually have to do in order to get Ungraded??

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boys3 Fri 19-Aug-16 19:36:51

nigella similar thing happened to Ds1 in English Lit a couple of years back (had the AS and A2 split then). 3 papers high A*s, the fourth paper (so second A2 paper) was 1 mark above an E. Remark pushed that paper to 1 mark shy of an A*, so brought the overall grade back to an A*. Not a clerical error but rather spectacularly inept marking - almost as if marked by someone with no knowledge of English Lit. So it can happen. Hope your DD gets the grade she was expecting on the remark.

Coconutty Fri 19-Aug-16 19:37:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LadyPenelope68 Fri 19-Aug-16 19:44:22

Not A Level, but my son as just got a D in Product Design AS Level after having a predicted grade and mock result of A*. He secured a B for one Module but actually got a U in the second Module which he/we/and School were very shocked with, particularly as he was so confident with the exam.

School have advised us to have a remark because of the huge discrepancy in predicted/actual and questioned whether the paper may have been marked by an inexperienced/inept market.

NigellasGuest Fri 19-Aug-16 19:53:49

that's encouraging - thank you for your experiences.

yes, the inconsistency of it is bewildering!

who are the markers, do we think? Do they rush their marking sometimes, because they have heaps to do, perhaps?

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pestov Fri 19-Aug-16 20:00:38

Markers are usually teachers, paid poorly with hundreds to do on tight deadlines. Anything subjective is worth a look, but marks can go down as well as up. Also look at getting the paper back. I once had a candidate who they ignored an entire question for!

LadyPenelope68 Fri 19-Aug-16 20:03:32

Yes, good advice about getting the paper back as well, we've requested that too. If the mark is correct and he's just bombed it then at least his teachers can see where he's gone massively wrong.


NigellasGuest Fri 19-Aug-16 20:14:57

ah that's interesting - we were wondering whether it was worth the extra charge to get the paper back. I said to DD that maybe the re-marker would be more careful if they knew we were going to actually see the paper ourselves. DD however said that probably the person who does the marking would not even know we had also requested a copy of the paper.

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elephantoverthehill Fri 19-Aug-16 20:20:44

There was an article about A'level remarks in the Guardian on Wednesday. It made interesting reading. Sorry I can't do a link as I bought a copy but maybe you could find it online.

NigellasGuest Fri 19-Aug-16 20:30:32

ok I will search for it, thanks!

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NigellasGuest Fri 19-Aug-16 20:39:04

was this the article?

I agree with the proposal in the article because it has crossed my mind that there may be similar cases out there who can't afford to stump up the cash for re-marking. A bit confusing though because we have to pay for the re-mark ourselves, not the college (she was at 6th form college - maybe it's different at a school).

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SwedishEdith Fri 19-Aug-16 20:45:47

If it's really out of kilter, the teacher's will sort out the remark. Maybe see what they say?

elephantoverthehill Fri 19-Aug-16 20:47:18

Yes that is the one. I know of one very bright girl whose (private school) paid for a remark and the score came out the same. Her parents then paid for another remark and it was found that 2 pages of her script were somehow stuck together. I have marked exam papers and the system is very rigourous but in the end we are human.

LadyPenelope68 Fri 19-Aug-16 20:51:46

Not different for Schools Nigella we're having to pay for DS's remark at his school.

LadyPenelope68 Fri 19-Aug-16 20:53:24

Not always the case Swedish. Our DS's is very out of kilter but School have said we'd need to pay even though they are recommending the remark.

SwedishEdith Fri 19-Aug-16 20:59:23

Oh, that's a shame. My eldest got a free remark as was one grade away from next one.

elephantoverthehill Fri 19-Aug-16 21:23:44

IME some schools will pay for remarks as it will improve their league table performance and others simply cannot justify the expense. I managed to get a remoderation on all my students coursework a few years ago and all the grades went up by at least 2 grades. Not sure my current Head would support that now.

NigellasGuest Fri 19-Aug-16 21:52:04

Swedish - the teachers have already said she should definitely get a re-mark. The college doesn't pay though - we do. It's not a problem for us but it does make me wonder about people who wouldn't be able to afford it in the same circumstances and that's just not equality of opportunity .... I should just be worrying about my own DD right now though I guess

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Wigeon Fri 19-Aug-16 22:02:34

My DH marks A Levels (different subject). Yes, most (all?) markers are retired or current teachers, mostly current. They do have lots of papers to mark in a short time but there are all sorts of ways the exams boards ensure quality, consistency and standards, eg all markers have to qualify to mark each year by proving they can mark accurately, team leaders moderate lots of the papers, then the principal examiner for each paper also moderates, marks some papers himself, and advises on unusual answers.

Generally the exam board is keen to ensure high standards ofaccurate marking but in your position I would definitely get a remark. Sounds odd.

Wigeon Fri 19-Aug-16 22:06:00

I am sure the re-marker wouldn't care a jot whether or not you are going to see the paper. In his subject/exam board, it's mostly the senior examiners (i.e. Team leaders and principal examiners) who do the re-marks and they are careful about it just because of general professionalism, not fear of candidates!

Wigeon Fri 19-Aug-16 22:06:16

His = DH

NigellasGuest Fri 19-Aug-16 22:09:49

Haha yes I'm sure you're right Wigeon!
I'm glad you agree my DD's results sound odd ..... and I hope she's re-marked by a senior examiner too.

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Wigeon Fri 19-Aug-16 22:20:16

DH says U isn't "ungraded", it's just the grade below E. And someone might get that because they answered the wrong question. Also, he has seen candidates get really varying marks - even top marks for half the paper, then they completely screw the essay. Or they haven't been taught something properly and it shows. So unfortunately possible for the kind of marks your DD got to be the candidate, not the marker.

Personally still think if you don't ask for a remark both of you will always wonder about it though.

venusinscorpio Fri 19-Aug-16 22:28:36

Definitely request a remark if you really think it doesn't add up. I didn't even ask for my French A Level C grade to be remarked (I figured too much partying and not enough revising, plus I'd already got into my chosen Uni) but the school did (without telling me) and the first thing they discovered was that they'd given me someone else's grade. Instant upgrade to a B, plus they remarked it, in the end I just missed out on an A.

NigellasGuest Fri 19-Aug-16 22:41:49

That was a stroke of luck Venus!

Wigeon thanks for taking the time to ask your DH- don't know where that "ungraded " myth comes from..... my own school circa 1980 probably! I suppose there's. Chance she did write the wrong number on the question or something daft like that. We shall see..

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