BBC News | Talking Point (2023)

If students are prepared to pay to see the exam papersI don’t see why not. On the other hand if its another burden on the tax payer I would say its an unnecessary extravagance. Will it be possible for me to view my 1984 Maths CSE exam to find out why I failed or my Geography and Chemistry exams which I still can’t believe I passed! I have a belief that the results computer did me a favour that day somehow.
Roy Matthews, England

To avoid favouritism and give openness in the exam process. It helped me understand my progress during my university years.
Martin Nkansa, USA

Looking into the test or exam papers after they have been marked? Of course! Where is the problem? Students in Germany have the right to do so since many, many years. And they do. Nobody can see any problem about it over here.
Prof. Dr. J. Ramseger, Academy of Arts, Berlin

Yes, it would be terribly difficult and expensive to return all the papers. As such, I suggest that the examiners at least release answers and comments to the students. Most students should still roughly remember how they answered the questions. Papers can then be returned on request to students who really need them for checking.
Siow Tian Rui, Singapore

I am currently doing my A Levels and from experience I know that there is nothing better than seeing your paper and where you went wrong. If you are able to retake the exam it is essential to see where you went wrong so that you can revise more thoroughly.
Caroline, UK

I think that we should be allowed to see our papers. If we take that long and try so hard to do well and then we do not, I think we should at least be given the chance to see why we did not do as well as expected. There is no harm in it – all we will be doing is just looking.
Shahnaz, England

I think that those students that wish to see their marked exam papers should be able to do so. The question here is the cost, in order to minimise costs and demand, only those that have failed or obtained the lowest pass grade should be able to do so. This will limit the number of requests made and will be at minimum cost.
Kenneth Ramesega, South Africa

Getting feedback from an exam paper – isn’t that called the “mock” exam which normally happens sometime before the end of a course?? This is marked by the teacher and the pupil has plenty of time to revise. If you can’t do the exam by the time the finals come then perhaps you should have worked harder and learned from your mistakes in the mock??
Lance Strangely, UK

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I think allowing students to see their marked exam papers will be a wonderful opportunity to lay to rest questions one have after receiving the results. One often wonders “what went wrong”, and allowing one to see the results allows a student to see where they made mistakes. However, getting the paper alone will not be part of a learning experience if it is not accompanied by the marker’s memorandum.
Celicia Serenata, South Africa

I simply don’t believe that giving back exam papers will encourage students to improve on where they went wrong. Very few people go to the trouble of retaking GCSEs or A-levels, so when are the students supposed to get the chance to show how they have learnt from these mistakes?Certainly, if a student feels the examiner has made a mistake then the paper should be sent to the student as a part of the appeals process so that both parties know what the situation is, but there is no need for giving all students their papers back.
Edward, UK

Kids are more productive when they can see what they need to work on. This can make taking exams less stressful and more exciting.
Becky, USA

Of course students should be allowed to see their exam papers. If an examiner has made a mistake which has gone unnoticed, or the paper has just been marked badly, the reason for a bad grade is never known. If a student sees his marked paper, he can (and will) scrutinise it carefully, and all though it may be a ‘bureaucratic nightmare’ (as education already is), it is nothing more than fair play. Students can now appeal against bad marking, and point out mistakes.
Aaron Malyk, UK

In school I failed my English GCSE twice! After failing the first time I was given a revision paper of the exact same questions of the first exam. It did not help me in the slightest bit! Eventually I did pass but I think that there are a lot of other students who keep on failing simply because they get the same answer wrong again and again! Showing the test paper to students would definitely help them the second time around, even though the second paper would have different questions.
Richard, Wales

In my opinion students should be allowed to see the tests in order to learn with their mistakes. I would like to know what is the point on depriving students from seeing their tests? Is there anything to hide? What is the school’s credibility by doing that?
Murilo, Brazil

Frankly after sweating through revision, trembling through exams, and drinking through my celebrations, the last thing I would want to see would be my exam scripts again.
Dan Moseley, USA

Is about time that students have the right to see their marked exam scripts. However, I do agree that a fee should be imposed to deter people from misusing the system.
W. K. Chu, China

How can anyone learn from their mistakes if they are not in a position to see what those mistakes are? Sure, sending exam papers back and forth across the country will result in an increased drain on the already limited funds that the education system has. However, if our government doesn’t not get their act together and start investing in our future then we are heading for much greater problems.One of our governments main priorities should be education, and if this requires some changes in terms of funds and policies, which it does, then the government should make these readily available.

George Collins, Singapore (British)

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I think that the student has the right to see his exam papers to check his answers, and to gain more confidence in his grader’s capability with regard to fairness, knowledge of subject and accuracy in reading and evaluating the answers. The main purpose for the exams should be is test the student’s knowledge of the main areas of the subject, and his skill to budget time among all answers to put on the most possible information within limited time to obtain the highest possible scores.
Abdulrahman A. Al-Hashim, Saudi Arabia

Surely, students have access to model exam papers from previous years.It wouldn’t take an Einstein to evaluate performance based on these models.Why add more cost? For those on the borderline, there is always the appeals process.
Tom, Australia

I thought students already have that right under EU-legislation. My experience is that only a few students complain. And I have to admit, sometimes they’re right. After all, markers are only human, aren’t they?The fear for many complaints and endless discussions is unjust. Exam questions should be clear and should test the students’ skills and knowledge in an appropriate way. Don’t ask unclear questions based on personal hobbyism and you don’t get endless discussions.

Leo, Sweden

As a student currently taking A-Levels, I know that I would feel a lot more confidant about my chances if I thought we would see the marked papers. After all, the only reason to keep them secret would seem to be that there was something to hide.
Ben, England

I think it would be a learning process of where they made the mistakes. We are always in a “learning process” everyday of our lives.
Mushtaque Ali, UK

As a Key Stage 3 SATS marker I am aware that all the papers marked by me will be sent directly back to the school that sent them directly to me, straight after the exam.The same examining boards which handle the GCSE exams act as agents for the QCA in carrying out the SATS marking and I’m employed by one of those boards for both SATS and GCSE marking. It is possible for schools to question SATS paper marks by sending the papers back and they do not have to pay a fee for this. They would have to with GCSE. However, there is no major problem with SATS so I can’t see why there should be a chaotic situation with GCSE. After all it’s only those papers with a borderline mark which will come into question and these are already double checked for SATS.Returning the papers will facilitate schools to teach even more effectively for exam success rather than for broad interest.
Malcolm, UK

I am studying for a-levels. The cost of the proposed move will drain the amount of money available for schools, and should therefore not go ahead (most schools do not have enough cash anyway).
Shaun, UK

Of course students should be able to see their graded exams. Like another reader said, this is simply part of “the learning process”. Bureaucracy has nothing to do with a student’s future or further education, and in this particular situation is being used as an excuse to start doing things differently. If both examiner and student get to see the graded and marked exam, both sides are on an equal footing, and as propounded in this article, appeals will be fewer and farther between.
Sara, UK

I am currently doing my GCSEs, and if I do badly in these exams and – worst came to the worst – I have to re-take. I would really like to know what I did wrong and find out why. I think it’s really quite important and it would be very helpful for the future exam sitters.
Amy ‘Candie’ Ash, UK

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Of course students should be able to see their essay and test scores, if they don’t they won’t know what to improve, so they won’t try to improve anything.
Pinter, Canada

The ability to see the mistakes that one made on an exam is a part of the ‘learning process’. Especially, in the case of a student who was not adequately prepared for an exam due to lack of study, or underestimating his/her required knowledge for the test. Too often, we think that the test by itself is the ultimate target for the student. But, the ‘learning process’ goes beyond that. Seeing examinations after they have been taken is good.
Dave Adams, USA

Being a dyslexic I found it difficult in my GCSEs to see were I went wrong. Although I managed to gain many ‘A’ grades, I would have liked to see how I let myself down on some subjects. I think seeing my papers would have helped me greatly. What is wrong with keeping examiners on their toes? Them doing a good job holds people’s futures in the balance after all.
Gerard Norris, England

Why not? We did the exams so why not see them marked?
Sean Raby, UK

I have never trusted examiners to be fair or just, and neither have many of my friends at university. To simply be told your grade, without being given any reason breeds this mistrust. If the examiners have nothing to hide, they should show us their work. Their (in)competence will after all have a dramatic effect on all our lives.
James Smith, UK

I think only the students’ teachers should be able to view the marked scripts and they can judge if they have been marked well – after all, the teachers can see if an answer is right or not whereas a parent or student doesn’t have the grounds to.
Sarah, England

If people want to see their exam papers, I think that they should be allowed to. I personally though would not want to see my exam, as when I come out of my A-level exams at the moment the thought “If only I had done that” is worse enough.
Nick Schofield, England

Surely the purpose of taking a course is to learn about that course. The exam is meant to be to test your knowledge and understanding of the course taken. If this is true, surely part of the learning process is to get feedback from your mistakes, otherwise exams are just a way of categorising people into people who can pass exams and people who can’t, not people who understand the subject and those who can’t.
Mark Bagnall, UK

Is this a real issue? I can not believe that students are prevented from seeing their graded exams in the UK. What is the purpose of this? Is somebody trying to hide something?
Lauren, USA

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Of course we should, we wrote in them. How many cases are there of poor marking? Too many, and there is probably more because papers aren’t checked properly. And, by seeing our papers, we can see where we went wrong, which helps if you go on to study the topic further or have to re-sit.
David Scally, UK

I think students should have the right to see their exam papers because it would help them see their mistakes. Why shouldn’t they? After all the exam papers are theirs.
Laura Williams, South Wales

There is only one answer to this question, YES. I do not believe that examination boards have the right to deny an individual access to their exam papers. However, the increase in administration costs would probably be better spent on more teaching before exams rather than worrying about results after.
R Ball, UK

I have had first hand experience of a system which leaves many students bewildered and confused about their futures. I was predicted 3 A grades at A level and was hoping to take up a place at Oxford. However when my results arrived I had an A grade and two E grades. My papers were put on emergency appeal but the board refused to raise my grades. I was left feeling devastated at my loss of my university place and confused about what to do next. I did not know if the low grades were the result of my lack of knowledge, miscomprehension of the questions or a failure on the part of my school to teach an adequate amount of the syllabus. It was extremely difficult in those circumstances to make a reasonable decision on what to do next regarding re-sits or going through clearing. As it was I accepted a place at another university gaining an upper second class degree. Students must have the full picture at this time of uncertainty and disappointment. This will become even more important as education becomes more expensive.

Alex, England

I think all students who wish to see their exam papers should be allowed the right. After all it can greatly effect their future decisions.
Tom McAllister, UK

Students should not have access to their papers because of the trouble that it will cause.It will not be long before a student takes the Examining Body to court claiming that the answer that they crossed out was not marked, that the tiny scribble at the bottom of the page that you would need a microscope to read was what they meant to be the answer, that the lack of working in a Maths exam doesn’t show that they didn’t know how to do it (even though they used a graphics calculator). The list of faults that a good lawyer could find in a script is endless and with the volume of scripts that are marked – well it’s just asking for trouble…
Vince Elvedere, UK

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