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Now that Ofqual has removed the automatic protection of grades for extended reviews of marking for examined units (reviews of moderation are not affected), it's worth explaining how OCR extended reviews will work for the June 2017 series.
Historically, an extended review of marking could be specifically requested by a school or college if they had concerns about a particular cohort. When 50% of the marking of a particular unit/component within the cohort had a change of more than 5% of the raw marks then we would automatically carry out the extended review.
There's no longer a formal process for schools and colleges to request an extended review. If you have any concerns about a particular cohort, the June 2017 JCQ Post-results services booklet advises you to submit a standard enquiry about results for all students you believe are affected, ensuring you gain the students’ consent. And it’s really important you do this as it will allow us to take any corrective action as quickly as we can.
Ofqual's reform requires awarding bodies to monitor all review outcomes and address any issues that are identified. It also means you may not be aware an extended review is taking place as we won’t inform you if we’re investigating a potential issue and you can’t decline to take part for some or all of your students, which means you don't need to obtain the students' consent. This is not something that’s new – we have always investigated any potential issues – the change this year is that automatic grade protection no longer applies to extended reviews of marking, so students' grades could go down as well as up. However, it's worth putting this into perspective; extended reviews are only carried out very rarely.
If you have concerns with a cohort's results, you can still continue to write to us as you do now by emailing us with the details and we can give additional information about the results of the monitoring in order to provide teachers, students and their parents with greater reassurance. For example, we can confirm how many examiners marked your students’ question papers. This shouldn’t be instead of submitting a review though as we wouldn’t want you to risk missing the enquiry deadline.
The previous JCQ criteria for extended reviews were based on ‘traditional marking’, where all of a centre cohort would be marked by one examiner. Since the vast majority of OCR scripts are now marked online, scripts are allocated to examiners at random, rather than one examiner marking all the scripts from one centre. Therefore, a large number of different examiners could mark the scripts from a single centre. This means any changes to an individual script do not automatically suggest a potential issue with the marks given to other students at that centre and it’s very unlikely an extended review could be triggered solely because of outcomes from any one centre.
Our marking and monitoring processes during the original marking period are robust; this means we can identify any issues much earlier and re-mark all the affected scripts before results are issued in the first place. (More information about this can be found in our Explaining Examining area.) We then closely monitor all the outcomes of enquiries about results from all centres to ensure there were no issues with an examiner’s marking which were not picked up before results were issued. Using statistical criteria, we look at the number of reviews that have been submitted against the marking of each and every examiner, and we look at how much the outcomes of these reviews changed marks.
Monitoring reviews of moderation outcomes works in a similar way, although we look at numbers of centres rather than numbers of candidates. If we have any have concerns, we investigate and, if necessary, extend reviews of marking or moderation to cover any candidates who might be affected by a potential issue.
Alison Leather - Customer Support Manager (South East)
Alison is Customer Support Manager for the South East region. The Customer Support Team provides support, training and guidance for centres administering OCR qualifications.
Alison has worked in education since 1995, as an Exams Manager in a college, a Centre Support Officer with the National Assessment Agency (NAA) and an Exams Officer in a secondary school – so she knows how challenging and rewarding it can be working in the exams office. Alison joined OCR as Customer Support Manager in 2007.