Senior examiners and Awarding Body subject specialists set questions and create a mark scheme according to each subject syllabus approximately 18 months before each examination.
Extensive checks are carried out to ensure the assessment objectives meet the Awarding Body criteria and the level of language used is appropriate to the assessment.
Where necessary, modified papers are developed from the initial exam paper for candidates with special needs.
All exam papers and blank scripts are printed.
Preparing for the exam
Exam papers and scripts are delivered to centres and put into secure storage by the centre’s exams officer in line with the JCQ’s ‘Instructions for conducting examinations’.
On the day of the exam, exam papers and blank scripts are taken to the exam venue by exams office staff, opened and put on desks.
Candidates sit the exam.
After the exam
Exam papers, completed scripts and any blank scripts are collected by exams office staff and put back into secure storage to wait for pickup by courier.
Courier transports completed scripts to Awarding Body for marking.
For confidentiality purposes question papers must not be released to centre personnel until after the awarding body’s published finishing time for the examination, or in the case of a timetable variation, until all candidates within the centre have completed the examination.
Marking and checking
Scripts to be marked online are scanned and kept in secure storage by the Awarding Body. Scripts to be marked in hard copy are sent to individual examiners.
Scripts are marked by Awarding Body examiners.
Rigorous checks are performed by senior examiners to ensure examiner marking is consistent with the Awarding Body mark scheme; that conversions from raw marks to UMS scores have been calculated accurately and the application of grade boundaries is correct.
Results are issued to centres by the Awarding Body.
Exams office staff and Head of Centre check candidates got the result(s) they were expected to get.
Centres give results to candidates.
Exams officer processes any Enquiries About Results for candidates who did not do as well as centre staff thought they would – photocopies of individual exam scripts may be requested to see what went wrong – (this can only be done with the candidate’s permission).
For further information about Enquiries About Results, see the JCQ publication ‘Post Results Services’.
If a re-mark is requested, an Awarding Body examiner will go through the script to check the original marking and moderation was consistent with the Awarding Body mark scheme and that all the marks were added together correctly to give the right grade (this can only be done with the candidate’s permission). Any changes to marks or grades will be communicated to the centre.
Preparing for next year
Original scripts may be requested by exams officer on behalf of teaching staff to support teaching and learning – (this can only be done with the candidate’s permission).
The cycle begins once again.