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Last Updated: Friday, 10 August 2007, 11:12 GMT 12:12 UK
Pupils may get full exam feedback
Exam candidate
Thousands of pupils will find out their results online
Pupils could in future be given detailed question-by-question feedback on their GCSE and A-level performance.

Examination board Edexcel is already offering schools a results analysis service which shows how their pupils answer each exam question.

The aim is to give teachers a fuller grasp of which parts of the syllabus were delivered well or otherwise.

But the board says its digital marking system makes it technically possible to also offer this to pupils and parents.

The exam board's managing director Jerry Jarvis said the new technology, which it uses in 90% of its exams, had let the Genie out of the bottle.

We can even show them how well they are being taught
Jerry Jarvis
Edexcel managing director

Teachers would be able to see precisely how well each cohort and each student has performed to a fine level of detail, he said in an article for the Times Educational Supplement.

And head teachers would be able to assess individual teacher's performance.

He added: "We are currently technically capable of providing students (and by implication, parents) with the same precise analysis that we are giving teachers.

"We can even show them how well they are being taught. This could ultimately enable students to challenge the system that teaches and assesses them.

"That could arguably be the catalyst for very rapid improvement, or could, on the other hand, be a recipe for endless litigation.

"I should stress that we do not intend to deploy all of this capability to students but it signals a compelling direction of travel."

How close?

Currently pupils who attend any of the nearly 2,000 schools who have signed up to receive results online from Edexcel can find out how close they are to the grade they are awarded.

This could help them decide whether to challenge their mark or re-take the paper.

About 50,000 pupils taking Edexcel exams are likely to discover their exam result online in this way over the next couple of weeks.

The largest exam board, AQA, is planning to pilot a similar feedback scheme but simply to schools.

But the third largest board, OCR, has no plans to follow suit.

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