Students give exam boards low marks

Students at Hills Road Sixth Form College Credit: ITV Anglia

A level students have plenty of worries; rising tuition fees, exam pressure, looming results day. Now they can add examiners' maths skills to the list.

The Chief Executive of the OCR exam board, which is based in Cambridge, has had to apologise after several examiners added up students' grades incorrectly last year. The examiners' mistakes meant 43 A and AS level grades, 71 GCSE grades and 137 GCE and GCSE units were incorrect and had to be changed. Most of these results were improved by one grade but five went up two grades.

The exam board says it has now put measures in place to ensure everyone's grades this year are protected, but students' trust remains badly shaken. On a visit to Hills Road Sixth Form in Cambridge, the majority of students I spoke to were worried about the mistakes being repeated.

I don't have as much faith in exam boards at the moment. I have taken all my lower sixth exams and I'm already thinking; if it's not what I think I'm going to get, is it worth trying to get it remarked? Because they might have got it wrong. "This is my life and if they make one mistake, your entrance to the university you want is gone."

The chief executive of the OCR board is keen to reassure students' fears. Mark Dawe told me his board has invested hundreds of thousands of pounds into putting further checks in place. In addition four examiners have been sacked and a further 78 put on probation.

When I asked whether students were right to be fearful and disappointed that those 78 examiners would still be marking papers this year, he replied that monitoring those particular examiners will be a priority.

We're not challenging their ability to mark the papers it was the adding up and putting the marks onto the system [that was incorrect]. Those 78 we will be monitoring very closely to make sure that they aren't making any errrors.

The OCR board say they are investigating one student's concern that an error last year led to missing out on a university place. The board also urges any students or schools who are concerned about their grades to get in touch.