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Students can request marked A-level exam papers under data protection laws, says ICO

Jenny Williams

Students receiving A-level results today can request to see exam paper marks and examiners' comments under data protection laws, according to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).

Under the Data Protection Act, students can request to see information, examiners' comments and overall exam paper marks. The ICO hopes students requesting marked exam papers will be able to make more informed choices about their future career path.

David Smith, deputy commissioner for data protection, said: "Having access to information - such as a breakdown of their overall mark and examiners' comments - may not lead to their grades being altered, but it could help them make decisions that impact on their future, such as deciding to re-sit an exam or pursue a particular subject at college or university."

David Smith added that the law also applied to students sitting GCSEs, Scottish Highers and degree examinations.

"If examination bodies fail in their legal duty to respond then students can bring a complaint to the ICO and we will look into it," said Smith.

The Data Protection Act requires exam bodies to respond to requests within 40 days from the date the results were published or within five months of the request being received.


See the ICO's guidance for accessing examination records >>


This year's A-level results showed a decline in the number of students gaining A-level IT qualifications for another consecutive year.

The results show a 1.8% drop in the number of students taking IT-related A-levels, with 15,962 students studying for ICT and computing A-levels in 2011, compared with 16,251 last year.





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