I hadn't spotted it in the paperwork and I am yet to meet anyone who did, but OCR have changed the way in which they do re-marks.
Re-mark v. Review
Previously, when a candidate or centre believed that the original examiner (Examiner1) to have awarded the wrong mark, the script was re-marked by a different examiner (Examiner2), this mark took precedence and overall grades were adjusted accordingly. This no longer happens in every case.
The process now applied by OCR is not actually to re-mark the script, rather it is to review that the original mark is in the correct band. So long as Examiner1 put the essay into the right band, the mark remains unchanged. Only in those cases where Examiner2 places the mark into a different band will the mark change.
This is borne out by our Berkhamsted School's A2 OCR re-mark statistics:
- 26/35 re-marks have seen no change
- 3/35 have seen a change of ≤3
- 1/35 has seen a change of 4-6 marks
- 5/35 have seen a change of >6 marks
The inherent injustice of the OCR Review system:
In cases where Examiner1 gives a mark that is at the bottom of the band, it is quite possible that Examiner2 might place the pupil in the same band but with a mark up to 4 marks higher on each question (depending on the band). However, so long as the mark given by Examiner 2 is in the same band, it is the Board’s policy that the mark will remain unchanged.
Thus it is quite possible for a candidate who has been placed at the bottom of a band on two essays to be evaluated by Examiner2 as being 8 marks or more better than the evaluation of Examiner1 and yet not their remark be returned with no change in the mark because it falls within the same band. For those candidates who fall just short of a grade boundary, eight marks can be the difference between going up a grade and gaining a place at their chosen university.
Marking Low: A case study
Sadly, those of us who have worked within the British Examination System for a number of years are only too aware that there is a considerable range in the quality of marking both at GCSE and A-level. If Examiner1 consistently places candidates at the bottom of the correct banding, then those candidates and that centre will be penalised and now have lost the mechanism to receive an uplift within the band.
Because Centres can now request to see the A-level scripts, we have a growing body of evidence that, here at Berkhamsted, we have suffered from at least one examiner disproportionately placing pupils at the bottom of band. (He placed 7 out 10 scripts at the bottom of bands). Other schools are reporting the same phenomenon.
We have long known that some examiners are more generous than others. Requesting that a script is re-marked gives a candidate and centre the opportunity to to ensure that candidates are not penalised by an excessively harsh marker. The OCR review system undermines this.
OCR: Recognising Achievement - I don't think so! #bringbackremarks