- Can I ask for the information my teacher uses to decide my grades instead of exams?
- Can I get information about my final grades early from my school or college?
- I didn’t get the grades I think I deserved – can I find out why?
- I’m unhappy with the way my school has handled my personal data– what can I do?
Yes. Due to the coronavirus pandemic you may not be able to sit your exams. Instead, alternative assessment methods may be used to award grades.
Under the UK GDPR, you have the right to request information about you and your performance. This may include:
- teacher assessment and evidence;
- written comments or emails about either your grade or your performance, or both; and
- records of your past performance, such as results from mock exams, assignments or assessments.
However, you don’t have the right to access any information you record yourself. This means that you can’t get copies of your answers from mock exams, written assignments or assessments.
As long as final results have been published, your school or college must respond to your request within one month. This ensures that all students receive their final grades at the same time.
However, if you request this information before final results are published, your school or college must respond:
- within five months of the date of your request; or
- within 40 days from when final results are published (whichever is earlier).
Not all approaches to exams and assessments are the same across the UK. Your teachers may discuss some information with you, such as information about your performance and what evidence they are considering to decide your grades. Some UK qualifications regulators ask schools to share provisional grades with students, before they submit them to the examining board. Please see the links below for more information on the requirements set by each regulator.
Data protection law means you can access the information about your final grades, once the final results are published. This is to ensure that students receive their final grades at the same time.
Once the final results are published, you can ask your school or college for information about how they decide your grades, such as:
- your teacher assessments;
- the evidence teachers use to make these decisions, such as previous results from mock exams, assignments or assessments;
- your performance records; or
- email exchanges discussing your provisional grades or teacher assessment.
As outlined above, your school or college must respond to your request within one month.
In some circumstances it may be necessary for a school or college to withhold information you request. This could be because an exemption applies or if the information you request may reveal something about another individual (eg another student).
The UK GDPR means that the mark the examiner awards you must be recorded accurately, but it doesn’t give you the right to challenge the examiner’s decision.
If you think your grade is wrong, you will need to pursue this via the relevant appeal procedures. You can find further information about appeals processes via the links below in further information.
If you are dissatisfied with the way your school or college has handled your personal data then this may be something we can look into. However, you will firstly need to raise your concerns with the organisation and give them an opportunity to respond and put things right. If you want to request a review or challenge a grade, the formal appeals process will be the appropriate way to do that. But if you have specific concerns about the handling of your personal data, you should still start by raising the matter with your school or college in the first instance.
For more information on how to raise your concerns effectively, please see our guidance and template letter here. If the school or college has been unable, or unwilling, to resolve your information rights concern, you can then raise the matter with us. You will need to provide us with:
- Copies of any letters or emails you sent to the organisation complaining about this matter; and
- Copies of any letters or emails they sent back, showing their complaints process has ended.
We will use this information to decide if there is an opportunity to improve the organisations information rights practices.
To make a complaint to the ICO, please visit the complaints section on our website.
If you require assistance when submitting your complaint, please contact us on 0303 123 1113.
- For students in England, you can get more information on Ofqual's website
- For students in Northern Ireland, you can get more information on the CCEA’s website
- For students in Wales, you can get more information on the Qualifications Wales website
- For students in Scotland, you can get more information on the SQA's website