Viewing scripts is highly recommended, as it gives students an opportunity to see if a mistake was made in the marking of exams
Anyone who wants to appeal a grade has until Monday, September 12, at noon to do so.
Unfortunately, mistakes can be made in the correction of the exams. Examiners have a huge number of scripts to get through and errors can be made in totting up scores, assigning marks or through missing parts of the script altogether.
Since Tuesday, candidates have had access to the overall marks scored for separate exam components, such as orals, coursework and written papers. This allows students to see if they fell down in a particular area such as a practical element, or if they were close to entering the next grade band.
While not essential, it is a good idea to view the exam script before deciding to appeal, and many candidates are taking the opportunity to do this over the weekend. If you haven’t already applied to view a script, it is too late.
Viewing takes place in-person tomorrow, Saturday, September 10, for papers marked in the traditional way (time slots are being allocated for this), and on both Saturday and Sunday, September 10-11, for papers marked online.
Candidates will know that, this year, marks awarded by examiners have all been increased. This is because of the commitment that grades overall would be no lower than last year. The increase ranged from 11pc to 2.7pc, and the average was 5.6pc.
In 50.5pc of cases, the higher mark brought the student up to the next grade band in that subject. In 49.5pc of cases the increase in marks did not lead to the student going up to the next grade. Because of this, in 50.5pc of cases, the overall marks on the paper will be lower than what is normally required for the grade awarded.
The purpose of the appeals process is to ensure that the marking scheme was applied properly. The post-marking adjustment is not open to appeal but those viewing scripts will be in a position to see that it was implemented correctly and that the mark was adjusted appropriately. If the appeals process leads to a higher mark, the post-marking adjustment value may also change.
A candidate viewing scripts can see exactly where marks have been awarded and lost. A mistake made by the student may become obvious and will offer some reassurance that the grade awarded to them is fair.
Viewing also provides an opportunity to spot mistakes made during the correction process.
If viewing scripts in person, the candidate must be present. No one else can view scripts on their behalf but they may be accompanied by another person such as a parent or teacher. It is helpful to invite a person who is familiar with the subject and the exam.
The marking scheme for the subject will be available at the viewing to assist candidates in understanding how their paper was marked.
If a mistake is spotted, it is essential not only to appeal but also to complete an AP1 form outlining the specific details. By doing this you are directing the examiner to the points you would like addressed. If you do not complete an AP1 form, I believe your appeal is less likely to be successful.
When viewing papers online, take detailed notes and screenshots of any potential issues. Then use these notes to complete the AP1 form online and submit it with the appeal.
Allowing for this year’s post-marking adjustment process, if you spot a clear discrepancy between the mark awarded and the grade awarded, contact the supervising teacher in your school immediately or, for online scripts, the SEC helpline 1800 111 135 or 1800 111 136 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
This issue goes through a different process than if you are appealing a mistake made when marking the paper. As a precaution, it is wise to also pursue an appeal in the normal way.
The SEC has not committed to a date for the release of appeal outcomes. Last year, they issued the week before the CAO season closed and offers were made in the final round. Depending on the course, an institution may ask the student to defer the place because of tuition time lost at that point.
Aoife Walsh is a guidance counsellor at Malahide Community School, Co Dublin