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 Post subject: Access to Exam Script
PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2015 9:05 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2015 7:17 am
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Hi,

I am aware that exam scripts come under the Data Protection Act (not Freedom of Information) and are exempt from being required to be made available when requested, see the FAQ: http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appeal ... cation#b55
However, as remarked there, some exam authorities do allow parents sight of their child's exam script. I was told that in Warwickshire, this _was_ allowed in 2014. When I phoned this year, to ask if I could have access to DS's script to help an appeal, I was told that this year they would not allow it. I have also been told by an appeals expert that often the school's rep on the appeal has the script in front of him/her at the appeal.

I would like to continue to try to argue for sight of it, and perhaps someone can advise me on how best to do this? I can see at least two lines of argument:

o If the exam authority allowed it last year, and is not allowing it this year, can I not argue that I am unduly prejudiced relative to parents last year?
o If the school's representative has it available as evidence against my appeal, surely due process of a fair appeal argues in favour of its release also to the parent?

But perhaps I could do better, argue stronger? Can anyone advise me on this approach? Thanks.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2015 10:36 am 
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Hi ConcernedOne,

Is there a specific concern about the exam paper? I know sometimes that parents are concerned that the answer sheet hasn't been marked properly or they have missed out a section.

I think some areas do a remark anyway if there is an appeal pending - not sure if this is the case in Warks - might be worth asking.

The key thing about appeals is to provide as much alternate evidence of academic ability

I am not sure that arguing that you are unduly prejudiced relative to parents last year by not being able to see the paper would make much difference as all parents appealing would be in the same situation and it would not add to the argument about whether DC has enough academic ability to pass the appeal and get a GS place.

have you read the appeals FAQ? https://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appea ... lification


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2015 2:18 pm 
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Dear hermanmunster,

Thanks for your thoughts. I can give some more background. DS is academically v. strong and attends a good school. We thought we did all the preparations right. DS came out of the exam feeling it had gone well. However, his standardised score turned out to be almost exactly average. He failed to qualify for any of the local grammar schools. We were all surprised and saddened (to say the least). The school was also surprised. So we went for a psychologist's report. Overall score in psych. tests is in top 2% of population. In maths was even stronger. So, the exam mark simply makes no sense. DS has no idea what went wrong and is baffled, as are we all.

So, there is no "specific" concern here, other than that it makes no sense. "He must have had an off day" is certainly not the best evidence to take to the appeal. We simply want to understand what happened in his exam, and take that as evidence to the panel. So, we would like to see his exam script to try to understand what happened. Seems a reasonable request to us. Would it be reasonable for the exam authority not to release his script to us to help understand this, especially since they were releasing them last year?


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2015 3:06 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2005 5:26 pm
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Welcome to the forum! :)

concernedOne wrote:
If the exam authority allowed it last year, and is not allowing it this year, can I not argue that I am unduly prejudiced relative to parents last year?
It's at the AA's discretion, but I think it would be reasonable to pose a question about their lack of consistency.
However, unless there's more to this than a debating point, I'm not convinced that arguing 'prejudice' is the best way to win over the hearts and minds of an appeal panel! :)

Quote:
If the school's representative has it available as evidence against my appeal, surely due process of a fair appeal argues in favour of its release also to the parent?
It's a well-established principle that all parties to an appeal must have the same paperwork. I suppose it's one thing to be in possession of, or have access to, a document, another to make use of it.
I would suggest that if the document is actually used as evidence during the hearing, then all parties ought to have sight of it.
Whether making an issue of this would help you win your appeal is a very different matter!


Just seen your latest post which clarifies your reasons.
Quote:
we would like to see his exam script to try to understand what happened. Seems a reasonable request to us. Would it be reasonable for the exam authority not to release his script to us to help understand this, especially since they were releasing them last year?
From a legal point of view, there seems no doubt that they can refuse! The issue is one of correct procedure - there's nothing in the Appeals Code about "acting reasonably"!

I recognise your wanting to understand where he went wrong, but in what way would this help an appeal?

Probably better to chip gently away at the other side's case during questions to the AA:
• Why the inconsistency between this year and last?
• What are the confidence intervals for the 11+? (They won't want to answer that!)
• Shouldn't all parties to an appeal have sight of the same paperwork? (assuming the AA rep. uses the document during the hearing - but keep this at the level of gentle probing, a polite question - avoid confrontation!)

_________________
Etienne


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2015 3:24 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2015 7:17 am
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Dear Etienne,

Thanks for your sage advice. We certainly intend to remain calm, polite and reasonable throughout our appeal, and to avoid any semblance of confrontation.

But perhaps with the exam authority beforehand, one can afford to be a little more robust, since I understand that the appeals panel is independent of the exam authority (and cannot be influenced by it, other than via the formal case presented).

Best Wishes,

CO.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2015 3:43 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2005 5:26 pm
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Quote:
But perhaps with the exam authority beforehand, one can afford to be a little more robust
Yes, but bear in mind that some admission authorities will automatically include any prior correspondence etc. about your case in the appeal paperwork.

As you can't win the data protection argument, perhaps try para. 2.8 of the Appeals Code?
Quote:
“2.8 Admission authorities must comply with reasonable requests from parents for information which they need to help them prepare their case for appeal.

(You might stand a better chance if you ask for specific information about the answer paper, rather than requesting a copy which they're unlikely to concede.)

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Etienne


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2015 5:10 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 31, 2013 4:03 pm
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concernedOne wrote:
Overall score in psych. tests is in top 2% of population. In maths was even stronger.

This really should form the basis of your appeal, CO, not trying to find what went wrong or if his paper got swapped. The school will want to know that he has the academic ability required, so proving this is where your energies should go.

JD


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