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Exam board faces legal action

This week it emerged that the UK’s largest exam board, AQA, could potentially face a class action from the parents of children who’s examination papers were being “remarked” by the same examiners.

AQA admitted that over the last three years there were instances where “appeals” were leading to exam papers being remarked by the same examiner who marked them in the first instance. Whereas the stated procedure is that a different examiner reviews the test results.

As a consequence the board could face a class action from parents who feel their children may have lost out as a result. A leading industry figure suggested that, “If there is actual money that you’ve had to lay out (as a parent) because of it…then possibly those expenses you could claim.”

Additionally Dr Tony Breslin, former chief examiner for GCSEs and chair of examiners for A levels, said AQA’s remarking blunder represents a “systematic failure”. And expressed the comment that, “if I was a parent I would be furious”.

AQA has been ordered to pay the sum of £350,000 by the industry regulator in addition to the grand sum of £735,570 in compensation to both schools an exam centres.

In support of a possible legal action Mr Neil Roskilly, chief executive of the Independent Schools Association, said they would “certainly support” parents in launching a claim if they felt their children had been “dumbed down”.

He further commented that, “AQA has said no child has missed out on a grade they should have received, but it would be interesting to see if that proves to be the case,” he said.

Mark Bedlow, AQA’s Interim Chief Executive, said: “I want to reassure everyone that this past technical issue – which we’ve fixed now – didn’t affect the outcome of anyone’s review. Where necessary, grades were still changed. Reviews of marking are only carried out by our best, most experienced examiners who are very unlikely to have made mistakes in their original marking – and, in the vast majority of cases, we’re talking about one isolated, anonymised answer from a paper being reviewed by the senior examiner who originally marked it.”

“But reviews should always be carried out by a fresh pair of eyes and we’re sorry that, for a small proportion in the past, this wasn’t the case. We’ve made sure we got it right this summer, just as we did after last year’s November exams.”

Please do not hesitate to if you require our assistance with any aspect of educational law on 0333 202 7175.

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