Ofqual has today (7 August 2015) published a final report following its investigation of marking issues identified at the exam board OCR last summer. A letter from Chief Regulator, Glenys Stacey, to OCR is also being released.
Last year, Ofqual had to intervene following concerns it had identified about the exam boards ability to mark all its 2014 GCSE and A level papers to schedule. The regulator actively monitored OCRs marking progress and the steps it took last year to ensure all results were issued on time, and subsequently initiated a thorough investigation into the challenges encountered by the exam board.
Commenting on todays report, Ms Stacey said:
During the marking of 2014 GCSE and A levels, we were concerned that OCR would fail to issue all results on time. This would have had a huge impact on students, universities and schools. We therefore monitored the situation closely at the time, and decided to conduct a full investigation afterwards so as to get to the root causes of the problem.
Our investigation and our review into OCRs own internal investigation, have shown us that the problems were caused by a number of internal issues at OCR. OCR recognised the failings in its management systems that led to the marking problems and took the necessary steps to ensure that results were issued on time. This led us to decide not to take any further action.
In light of its investigation, Ofqual required sight of OCRs plans to avoid similar challenges this summer and has been monitoring closely the marking completed by all exam boards.
Ms Stacey added:
We are pleased to see that OCR is in a very different position this year. It is evident that they have made some welcome improvements to their business.
The critical findings of Ofquals investigation, which run through its report, include that:
- OCRs restructure impacted on the summer 2014 series.
- OCR had limited understanding of assessors availability.
- There was fragmented governance and a lack of clarity in key roles and responsibilities in managing marking.
- There was a lack of understanding among key senior managers of the end-to-end process of marking and awarding.
- There was no cross-business contingency planning and risk identification.
Ofqual launched its investigation on 16 September 2014.