Preparing for exam results: A checklist

Written by: Jugjit Chima | Published:
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The job of an exams officer is most certainly not done once the summer exams series is completed. Jugjit Chima runs through the main duties and responsibilities of exams officers in the coming weeks and months

In the coming weeks, many senior leaders and teaching staff will turn their attention to exam results and post-results. However, exams officers will already be planning for this aspect of the exam cycle.

Exams officers are responsible for many aspects of the process relating to exam results, but it is not solely their responsibility to ensure that candidates receive their results and are supported with any post-results issues and enquiries.

For example, the head of centre must adhere to the Joint Council for Qualifications’ (JCQ) regulations when deciding who will have access to exams results prior to their release to candidates. In short, beyond the exams officer, there must be very good reasons for breaking the confidentiality of these results to any staff – senior leadership team, teaching or administrative – before they are issued to candidates.

The examination results process requires planning and clear communication with both staff and candidates. Instructions must be given to candidates prior to results day as to the process for the collection and enquiries relating to their results.

Staff must be informed that it is their responsibility – not that of the exams officers – to provide academic and pastoral support to candidates following the issuing of results. This could include senior leaders, teaching staff and/or heads of year.

Before the end of term, centres should have ensured that the venue for the issuing of results and other logistical arrangements such as collection times, absent candidates, collection by parents/grandparents/carers etc, have been confirmed and that all candidates, including private candidates if applicable, have been informed of these arrangements.

Centres must identify staff who will provide support to candidates on results day and their roles, ensuring that they comply with the JCQ’s requirement that there is “accessibility of senior members of centre staff immediately after the publication of results” for all candidates. This will be required by candidates when making decisions over further education options or whether an enquiry should be made about a particular examination result.

Exams office staff will need to prepare post-results services information for candidates and identify a process to receive post-results enquiries/requests following consultation between candidates and teaching staff. Candidates must be made aware that all post-results service requests can only be made through the centre and that they must provide written consent for re-marking and access to scripts services offered by the awarding bodies.

The day prior to results day is known as “restricted release day”. This provides exams officers with an opportunity to download results, print individual candidate statements of results, collate these with any other pre-prepared candidate information, before placing all of this information in envelopes ready for collection by candidates on the following day.

On restricted release day, result files and their contents are entirely confidential to the head of centre, examinations office staff and those teaching staff who, in the opinion of the head of centre, need to be aware of the information. No other members of staff may have access to results on restricted release day.

Restricted release day also allows exams office staff to resolve any missing or incomplete results and submit any late “cash-in” – this is an entry code which informs the awarding body that the marks for individual components or units should be combined to give an overall grade for the qualification.

Other key tasks on the day prior to candidates receiving their results include preparing:

  • Result summaries beyond individual candidate results.
  • Results information to relevant teaching staff including subject heads.
  • Devising a press release (note that the release of results data to the press and local authorities can only be made from 9:30am on results day).
  • Results analysis for all qualifications.

On results day, centres must ensure that candidates receive statements of their results and information relating to the process for post-results enquiries.

However, exams officers may also be required to resolve missing or incomplete results, submit any late cash-ins, while also disseminating data and information to senior leaders/teaching staff such as result summaries and analysis.

On and following results day, exams officers are often very busy dealing with priority and non-priority Enquiries about Results (EARs) and Access to Scripts (ATS) requests. The requests must be logged and any changes in results will need to be recorded and results analysis amended accordingly.

Finally, once all certificates are issued by awarding bodies (which will be no later than November 7) – exams officers will check these upon receipt and begin the process of distributing these to candidates – usually via a certificate presentation evening organised and led by heads of year and/or the senior leadership team.

Unclaimed/uncollected certificates must be retained securely for a minimum of 12 months from the date of issue after which they can be destroyed (confidentially) if you have insufficient space to retain these. If you destroy certificates, you must keep a record of these unclaimed certificates for four years from the date of certificate destruction.

So, if anyone is wondering what exams officer do when there are no exams, and perhaps the role is “part-time”, perhaps preparing for exam results day will provide some indication of how the exams officer role is very much “full-time, all-year-round” – and that’s without considering their role in exam policies, entries, invigilation, rooming, timetables, seating plans, contingency planning, access arrangements, JCQ inspections, dealing with awarding bodies and the conducting of exams – the list seems endless.

Further information

The full set of JCQ regulations, including those relating to examination results and post-results, can be found at www.jcq.org.uk/exams-office


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