The TES is reporting that a senior Ofqual director has claimed wealthy pupils have an “unfair advantage” under a generous GCSE re-marking system that upgrades students’ scores even though the original mark was valid.
Dr Ian Stockford, Ofqual’s executive director for general qualifications, told a conference that re-marks of exam scripts sometimes led to “legitimate marks” being upgraded – because long-answer questions required a degree of professional judgement from the marker.
Those who could afford to pay for papers to be reviewed and exploit this phenomenon could have an advantage, therefore, over those who could not. Exam boards charge a fee for papers to be remarked, but return the fee if the grade is changed.
“Schools or parents who can afford to pay for a review of their marks may be given an unfair advantage, not because they are getting marking errors corrected that they wouldn’t otherwise but simply because they are seeking a legitimate mark that they have been awarded to be overturned,” he said.
He explained that marking long answers required an element of professional judgement and different examiners could legitimately award different marks to the same answer. In some cases long answers were marked more generously on re-mark even though the original mark was “a perfectly reasonable interpretation of the mark scheme.”
In comments that will be interpreted as a sign that the watchdog plans to tighten the rules on re-marks, Dr Stockford said: “In the current system, exam boards rightly correct genuine marking errors but they can also sometimes change legitimate marks…”
Would you welcome a change in this direction on the basis that remarking has, potentially, become a strategy for the better-off (or those at better-off schools)?
Please let us know what you think in the comments or via Twitter…
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