Offer-holders in torment over ‘mega mistakes’ in A-level marking

OCR has given potential freshers nasty surprise

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As if the wait for A-level results was not already painful enough, the government’s regulator has just rubbed salt in the wound revealing an exam board “lacked understanding” of marking.

Not holding back, the regulator has hinted at “mega mistakes” which could cost students university places.

In what appears to be the culmination of a long-suspected downward spiral in examiners’ intelligence, exam boards have this year taken to simply “guesstimating” grades.

Stats reveal the number of appeals against results has skyrocketed. Since 2008 the figure has grown by thousands each year.

More intelligent than their examiners?

Ofqual, the exam regulator, has forecast a record number of appeals for this year as a result.

Leading independent schools were, as always, the first to speak up and last night called on students and teachers to challenge their grades if they felt they had been awarded the wrong mark.

To make matters worse, the naughty exam board ruining students’ summer holidays is Cambridge born-and-bred.

Ofqual raised concerns about the system following a report into Oxford, Cambridge and RSA (OCR).

As one of the University’s three exam boards, OCR has “access to unrivalled expertise and research capability across assessment and examinations”, according to its website, which may now need to be rewritten.

The Ofqual report found OCR’s marking machine badly malfunctioning, after serious delays caused by an IT problem meant marking was rushed.

OCR has acknowledged marking didn’t go “as smoothly” as it would have wished. Ofqual claims things were much worse, however.

Thousands could miss out on uni from markers guessing results

OCR were initially not going to deliver all the results on time: “It appears that only after the joint meeting between OCR, Ofqual and Ucas on July 31 [2014] did OCR senior managers understand fully the significant effect that an anticipated shortfall of marked A-level papers would have on a significant percentage of students going into clearing,” the report said.

In response, OCR said it had taken the right steps to prevent late grades.

The fear remains, however, over the quality of the marking.

An Ofqual spokesman said: “It is the responsibility of exam boards to make sure they have appropriate policies in place to ensure their marking is accurate. Ofqual does not speculate, nor comment on speculation.”

It’s not hard to read between the lines. One look at the Cambridge University Offer Holders 2015 group will confirm that much.