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Ofqual orders exam boards to take action over marking inaccuracies

Qualifications regulator Ofqual has ordered OCR exam boards to take action after a number of clerical errors were made in the marking of examinations.

More than 250 pupils have had their exam results affected because of marking inadequacies.

Ofqual’s investigation into the marking of examinations found 1370 clerical errors of 100,000 scripts checked. The mistakes were made in the adding up of marks awarded in last year’s exam papers, summer 2011.

As a result, the regulator has issued OCR exam boards a direction to legally ensure qualification results are accurate. This includes reviewing its procedures, practices and the senior team’s accountabilities.

Ofqual chief regulator Glenys Stacey said: “The number of clerical errors made by OCR examiners when adding up candidates’ marks in the summer of 2011 was simply not acceptable.

“OCR did not have adequate arrangements in place to check for such errors. When the problems came to light, senior managers did not take control of the situation to identify the full scope of what had happened, or make sure all the results were right.

“There was an accusation made that OCR deliberately misled the regulator. We have not found that to be the case, but decisions made about the handling of the issue meant that it was not made clear to us how significant the scale of the problem was at an early stage.

“We required OCR to make improvements to its procedures in time for the next series of exams in January this year and to ensure these remained in place for this summer’s exams. These were independently verified and were found to be working.  The Direction we have issued today will ensure that the way the organisation works in future makes it less likely such a significant problem such as clerical errors could go un-noticed and then not be property rectified.”

Syema Majeed

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