Ofqual publishes findings on exam marking quality

Examinations regulator Ofqual has published the first part of its research into the quality of marking for GCSE, A levels and other academic qualifications. The research will be followed by a report in summer on the arrangements for challenging marks and grades, and another in autumn with final recommendations.

It was carried out in response to a “significant and growing minority” of teachers and headteachers raising concerns with Ofqual that standards of marking have slipped in recent years, particularly for GCSEs. The review of the marking system will affect those completing courses via home schooling as well as conventional schooling.

The initial report highlights some of the areas Ofqual intends to explore in more detail, including:

  • Benefits and drawbacks associated with double-marking
  • Benefits and drawbacks of item-level marking
  • The impact of different methods of standardisation
  • Stakeholder perceptions of marking
  • Establishing common metrics to measure quality of marking across exam boards

“As we set out in the report, the biggest factor influencing the reliability of marking is the design of the assessment itself – the style and quality of the questions and the quality of the accompanying mark schemes,” said Glenys Stacey, chief regulator at Ofqual. “These are matters we intend to improve as qualifications are reformed.”

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