In recent years, remarking of exam papers has come under acute scrutiny. In 2001-2002, this had been a big issue in the GCSE and A-levels examinations because the grades were very different from expectations and widely fluctuated. Questions like should the students be compensated if there is a legal action, has cropped up many times. This also resulted in some students taking a gap year. Students and parents were both disturbed by this years grading and it had not been easy for anybody. But schools were told that the variations are normal and had to be accepted1. There was an enquiry by the watchdog QCA and the question is not completely answered who and how the remarking should take place. Confusion has created a crisis.
In 2001, A-level examinations saw 4,194 candidates had their grades increased by the normal procedure which rather shook the trust in the exam system. In 2002, BBC reported that A-level students can ask for re-marking. "Over 12,000 pupils across Wales have discovered they may have had their A-level papers incorrectly marked after English examination boards admitted they downgraded some results". http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/2268475.stm
In 2002, during the crisis of remarking, The Chief Executive of the qualifications and curriculum authority gave exam boards and connected officials to come up with new guidelines as the existing guidelines proved inadequate. In 2003, exam board replaced paper marking with US designed technology to improve the speed and process.
In 2005, more than 18,000 A-level and GCSE examination grades were changed after complaining. According to The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority's report, 53,600 of the 6.7 million A and AS-level entries were challenged. Of the six million GCSE, 48,422 enquiries happened and out of them 10.773 were altered. These figures relate to the five main exam boards, AQA, Edexzcel, OCR, WJEC and CCEA2. The revised grades helped many students in their university admissions.
Government3 was of the opinion that regional centres of the exam boards would carry out the remaking as usual on priority because the deadline for remarking was almost over on every occasion and a fresh deadline was necessary to be authorised from the QCA. Over the recent years, there were rumours that wrong grades had been awarded and there was widespread unhappiness that lower grades caused problems during university admissions and funding possibilities which will in turn have problems on teaching and accommodation facilities etc. as a lower grade would create a continuous chain reaction, more so, when the student was sure of getting a better grade. The so-called gold standard exam has created unnecessary uncertainty which is rather unfortunate. If the exam results are significantly worse than expectation and are almost beyond belief, it becomes necessary to ask for a remarking instead of nursing a grievance that could become a psychological stumbling block.
Teachers are equally mystified not knowing mostly what exactly the Board is looking for. Students are uncertain about re-sits. Some of the students who got upgraded after the review were happy, but the confusion and lack of trust in the system prevailed. Many questions were asked: Is it necessary to move away from standard based assessments Are there better ways of marking so that a remarking is not called for If remarking becomes an absolute necessity, are there better wa