§ Mr. Willis
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many Key Stage 3 English tests were re-marked in each year since 2001; what the cost was of carrying out this re-marking in each year; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Miliband
[holding answer 3 February 2004]The figures quoted as follows represent the number of Key Stage 3 English re-marks requested and those which resulted in a change in the level awarded to the pupil in reading, writing and overall. The figures for the number of re-marks which resulted in a change in marks are not available since the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority(QCA) only keeps records relating to changes in level.
Key Stage 3 English Number of Re-marks requested Number of Re-marks resulting in a change in level Changes in level as per cent, of whole cohort 2001 87,985 18,579 3.1 2002 90,510 16,864 2.3 2003 120,780 23,888 3.8
The costs of carrying out the re-marking process for each test subject at each key stage are not held by the External Marking Agency (EMA).
Changes to the test mark schemes were introduced in 2003. The consequent unfamiliarity with the mark scheme resulted in an increase in the number of reviews requested by schools. Due to the increase in level changes following review and the concerns raised by schools, the Department asked QCA to examine the quality control measures in place for both marking and reviews.
Improvements planned for this year include: 1584WThe separate marking of reading and writing Key Stage 3 English scripts.Markers will be asked to focus on one mark scheme and specialise in one component of the tests, either reading or writing.The electronic calculation of marks and levels, which should eliminate the need to request reviews due to clerical error.Increased marker supervision, revised marker training and additional training for new markers.
The Government believes that any occurrence of unacceptable marking is a cause for concern and QCA will continue to work together with the EMA to improve the quality and reliability of marking. I believe it is absolutely vital to ensure reliable test results in which pupils, teachers and parents can be confident.