The UK’s independent authority set up to uphold information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.

Exam results

Can I find out more about my exam results?

The Data Protection Act gives you the right to access some exam related material. You may request information including your mark, examiner’s comments and minutes of examination appeals panels.

How do I access my information?

To access the information held about you, write to the place that holds the information. You may be able to get the address from your school or university’s appeals procedure. You can use email. Keep a copy of whatever you send, and write down the date you sent it.

Find out more about how to access your information.

How long will it take?

As long as the exam results have been published, your school or university must respond to your request for your information within 40 days.

If you request the results before they have been announced, your school or university must respond:

  • within five months of the date of the request; or
  • within 40 days from when the results are published (whichever is earlier).

Can schools give my exam results to the media for publication?

Publishing examination results is a common and accepted practice. Many students enjoy seeing their name in print, particularly in the local press and the Act does not stop this happening. However, the Act says that schools have to act fairly when publishing results, and where people have concerns about their or their child’s information being published, schools must take those concerns seriously.

Schools should make sure that all pupils and their parents or guardians are aware as early as possible whether examinations results will be made public and how this will be done. Schools should also explain how the information will be published. For example, if results will be listed alphabetically, or in grade order.

In general, because a school has a legitimate interest in publishing examination results, pupils or their parents or guardians do not need to give their consent to publication. However, in a small number of cases publication may cause distress or harm. Schools should consider objections from pupils and parents before making a decision to publish. A school would need to have a good reason to reject someone’s objection to publication of their exam results.

Can a child make a request for their information?

The Act does not specify an age at which a child can request their exam results or request that they aren’t published. When a child makes a request, those responsible for responding should take into account whether:

  • the child wants their parent (or someone with parental responsibility for them) to be involved; and
  • the child properly understands what is involved.

The ability of young people to understand and exercise their rights is likely to develop or become more sophisticated as they get older. As a general guide, a child of 12 or older is expected to be mature enough to understand the request they are making. A child may, of course, be mature enough at an earlier age or may lack sufficient maturity until a later age, and so requests should be considered on a case by case basis.