Sharp fall in grade challenges after schools given free access to exam scripts

Edexcel sees a 528 per cent increase in schools accessing marked exam scripts after providing them free-of-charge. Allowing schools to access marked exam scripts for free may have led to a sharp fall in the number of pupils challenging their grades, figures analysed by Tes suggest.

Edexcel this year became the first exam board to allow schools to access all marked GCSE and A-level exam papers free of charge, through a new online portal.

As a result, the exam board – run by education company Pearson – saw a 528 per cent increase in the number of its GCSE and A-level scripts downloaded by schools. Schools normally request scripts, at a cost, to decide whether they are going to request a review of marking. 

But making it easier to access the papers appears to have led to fewer requests for reviews.

The move – which follows criticism from the sector about the cost that schools face for exam scripts – saw the number of exam papers being accessed rise from 68,954 in 2016 to 433,140 in 2017.

Hayley Read, head of assessment at Edexcel, said the free service was introduced to help schools “save a lot of money” by selecting which grades to challenge, at a time when resources are “tight”.

The total number of GCSE grades changed after schools requested a review of marking rose by 52 per cent compared to last year. For Edexcel, it dropped by 7 per cent.

Read more Sharp fall in grade challenges after schools given free access to exam scripts

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