More exam grades changed after challenges

There has been a steep rise in the number of GCSE and A-level grades changed after schools challenged the results, according to official data.

A total of 77,400 grades were changed for the summer 2014 exam series across England, Wales and Northern Ireland - up from 54,400 in 2013.

This is a 42% rise, says the data from exams regulator Ofqual.

However, the body warns that changes to the exam system mean direct year-on-year comparison is difficult.

In particular, changes to the rules on early entries and resits resulted in a large rise in the number of entries for summer exams this year.

'Problems rare'

So the rise in grade changes after appeals represents fewer than 1% of all grades issued, says Ofqual.

In all, there were 451,000 individual inquiries about results, up from 304,400 in 2013, a rise of 48%.

But Ofqual says part of this can be explained by the overall increase in the total number of entries for the summer exams.

There were more than 22 million entries in summer 2014, it says, compared with just under 20 million the year before, a rise of 11%.

For GCSE, 292,350 qualification results were challenged. Of those that were changed, 53,850 went up and 400 went down.

At A-level, 122,500 results were challenged, with 22,550 going up after a re-mark and 600 down.

The Association of School and College Leaders describes these as "staggering figures".

General secretary Brian Lightman said the data backed up ASCL's own survey of schools earlier this year when 95% said they had submitted appeals and 25% had seen changes to marks.

"Schools need to be able to trust the marks given to students.

"They need to know that examinations will be marked accurately, fairly and in a timely manner.

"Unfortunately it is too late for those students who were relying on those grades for university or college placements or other career paths."