News story: Summer series, access arrangements and inter-board comparability

The first report is our general round-up of the 2015 summer series of exams, enquiries about results and marking. This report provides a broad overview of the exams system and also details the work done to reduce the risk of any mishap. The 2015 summer series passed without major incident. With 2.1 million candidates, over 1,700 exams, and examiners marking 22 million scripts it is inevitable that some issues will arise and it is important that lessons are learned.

The second report covers access arrangements in exams and supplements our earlier report. This new report is provided in response to requests for further information, particularly about use of access arrangements by different types of school. Access arrangements are designed to allow students with particular requirements to perform to their best ability and this report details the number and type of access arrangements made during the full 2014/15 academic year. The most frequently granted access arrangement was the allowance of 25% extra time, for which around 180,000 were approved (52% of all access arrangements). The collected data is incomplete and not sufficiently conclusive: we will be seeking further data and information and discussing emerging trends with exam boards and those representing schools and colleges.

The third report outlines how we judge comparability between exam boards. The aim of the report is to demonstrate how we ensure that there is a level playing field for students. We have monitored selected GCSE and A level awards for 2015 and found that the exam boards have maintained appropriate standards and that grade standards within a subject were in line across exam boards.

Glenys Stacey, Chief Executive at Ofqual said:
“At the heart of our work is a commitment to ensuring that teachers, pupils and parents can have confidence in qualifications and the exam system. This latest set of reports provides detailed data and information on key qualifications taken in 2015, enabling people to see more than ever how things work in practice. Where the data is incomplete or raises issues, we are taking action.”

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