The Student Room Group

Do complaints affect grade boundaries?

My geography teacher said something odd in lesson which got me thinking. She said after a difficult exam if there are a lot of complaints (from teachers and students) they lower the grade boundaries, the exam board [apparently] gages the difficulty of exams and what levels to set the grade boundaries at from: a) results across the country and b) reaction to the exam. So theoretically should loads of students complain about an exam (like the protest group for OCR AS Biology in January) it would make the grade boundary more fair and take students opinions into account.

Just wanted to know if anybody can confirm or deny this, thanks?
Original post by crew.m
My geography teacher said something odd in lesson which got me thinking. She said after a difficult exam if there are a lot of complaints (from teachers and students) they lower the grade boundaries, the exam board [apparently] gages the difficulty of exams and what levels to set the grade boundaries at from: a) results across the country and b) reaction to the exam. So theoretically should loads of students complain about an exam (like the protest group for OCR AS Biology in January) it would make the grade boundary more fair and take students opinions into account.

Just wanted to know if anybody can confirm or deny this, thanks?


My biology teacher said there was nothing wrong with that paper, it just contained content that a lot of students didn't think would come up; now people know to revise everything and not leave out sections because they're small or haven't come up in exams in years.

Protest groups do not get listened to; of course people are going to find exams difficult and want boundaries lowered, why should the boards listen every time people find their exams difficult?

My History teacher was an examiner for 30 years and has said when deciding grade boundaries for AS and A2, the nation's GCSE results are taken into account; if people did better in that subject's GCSEs last year then they should do better in the AS level that year, raising the boundaries.
(edited 12 years ago)
Reply 2
Original post by crew.m
My geography teacher said something odd in lesson which got me thinking. She said after a difficult exam if there are a lot of complaints (from teachers and students) they lower the grade boundaries, the exam board [apparently] gages the difficulty of exams and what levels to set the grade boundaries at from: a) results across the country and b) reaction to the exam. So theoretically should loads of students complain about an exam (like the protest group for OCR AS Biology in January) it would make the grade boundary more fair and take students opinions into account.

Just wanted to know if anybody can confirm or deny this, thanks?


yes, it does make a difference. but they'll know if the complaints are actually reasonable - they don't care about kids complaining that the exam was 'hard' or 'unfair', but they will pay attention to teachers responses more. complaints should be specific about particular questions or the way the paper's written, such as 'questions 2,3,5and7 were all on bla topic, which is very biased towards that topic and missed out bla topic, which was a major part of the syllabus.

however often they just get a bit annoyed and post irritated responses on the websites, like OCR did after a biology exam last year!

anyway, a lot of the time the exams people complain about reward people who put in an extra effort or are better - which surely is a good thing? last year, everyone complained about an a-level biology paper, but i got 100% in it, so i'm not going to complain!
(edited 12 years ago)
I don't think the complaints themselves affect the boundaries. As the boundaries are adjusted depending on how 'hard' the paper is, they'll be lower as the people who complained probably didn't do too well.

Of course, if the exam board's made a mistake in the paper which has then caused complaints, then they'll have to adjust for that question.
Unlikely, but I'd imagine any complaints which were taken seriously would be from examiners rather than teachers or students
Original post by crew.m
My geography teacher said something odd in lesson which got me thinking. She said after a difficult exam if there are a lot of complaints (from teachers and students) they lower the grade boundaries, the exam board [apparently] gages the difficulty of exams and what levels to set the grade boundaries at from: a) results across the country and b) reaction to the exam. So theoretically should loads of students complain about an exam (like the protest group for OCR AS Biology in January) it would make the grade boundary more fair and take students opinions into account.
Just wanted to know if anybody can confirm or deny this, thanks?
Yes When people are not complaining they can do whatever but when you put pressure on them They uf to lesson is like the government when people stay at home they would nevertheless listen but if people say we stop buying oil and Work the government would start to work again I hope you understand my point
It seems to me that the exam can throw up some strange combinations sometimes.
Last year on 1 of my A level history papers, i worked out you could have got by knowing 55% of the syllabus.
Also a major theme of the period covering over 40% of that particular historical period which had large implications for what was to follow, was ignored completely!
I know i am not alone in thinking that a paper i did this year had some clumsy wording, i mean they have months to think about it!
(edited 2 months ago)

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