Heads call for overhaul of appeals system to stop pupils losing out

The Times is reporting that the head teachers of leading independent schools want an overhaul of the exam appeals process because they say that some teenagers are being unfairly denied the grades they deserve…

More appeals are expected this year because of the scrapping of mid-year resits in A levels and GCSEs. An inquiry last year rated 6 per cent of examiners marking the exams as inadequate, and almost 25 per cent as only satisfactory.

Richard Harman, the incoming chairman of HMC, the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference, which speaks for 250 leading independent schools, said that recent and forthcoming changes to exams would exacerbate the situation. Schools are concerned about inconsistency between exam boards, and the marking of some subjects more harshly than others, he said…

He called for mechanisms to ensure that there was comparability between subjects and across exam boards, and voiced concern about modern languages, saying that it was much harder to get an A* in languages than other A levels.

Glenys Stacey, the head of Ofqual, has acknowledged the discrepancy and said the regulator would hold a review.

Mr Harman, the headmaster of Uppingham School in Rutland, welcomed this but said it would be too late for this year’s candidates. “At the moment, an appeal against results is often a technical matter, not a review of that candidate’s papers,” he said.

“It’s more about whether boxes have been ticked. There is no question of whether the examiner’s judgment was wrong, and I’d like to see a review of that. If an appeal needs to be made and a school can show this is well out of line with the expectations and previous performance of the candidate . . . then the appeal should be more qualitative and look at whether the marking was fair.”…

More at: Heads call for overhaul of appeals system to stop pupils losing out (subscription required)

 

This report focuses on concerns being raised by independent school heads but are these issues felt more broadly across the state system too? Are there inconsistencies between subjects and boards as well as fundamental issues with the way individual reviews are carried out? What are the biggest concerns you have? Please share in the comments or via Twitter and take part in our poll…

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