Examination marking

Information relating to the Coronavirus pandemic

For the most up-to-date advice and guidance about policies and processes relating to Examinations and Assessments, please refer to the following webpages:

Advice for student-facing staff: https://academic.admin.ox.ac.uk/coronavirus
Advice for students: https://www.ox.ac.uk/students/coronavirus-advice

The Examinations and Assessments Framework (EAF) has been updated to reflect changes implemented due to the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.


After the examination, scripts will be delivered according to instructions provided by the Chair of examiners. The next steps are as follows:

  • Marking – there is a considerable amount of guidance regarding marking and adjudication available in the Examinations and assessments framework (EAF). Some particular problems that may arise are summarised in this handbook.  
  • Factors affecting performance – students who feel that their performance was affected by factors outside of their control may make an application via their college. A subset of the board of examiners should meet to discuss all information received on factors affecting performance.
  • Record retention – a summary of the relevant policies is given in this handbook, but you are advised to also consult Examinations and assessments framework (EAF).



Students are allocated their candidate number once their University card forms are processed (the number is generated automatically by an overnight system process). Students can look up this number on Student Self Service once they enrol, or on their Individual Candidate Timetable, once they receive it. The candidate number will remain the same throughout a student’s studies at Oxford, unless it has to be changed due to a breach in confidentiality.

This text is taken from the Proctors' Information and Guidance for Examiners "An individual number is allocated to each candidate as part of the means of ensuring anonymity in Examinations. If there are any queries about candidate numbers Chairs should contact the Academic Records Office. Chairs should not attempt to change the numbering (even if there are gaps in the sequence as a result of withdrawals), as this could cause considerable confusion."

Please note that the Candidate Reports contain both the candidates' names and their candidate numbers. Candidate Reports will be sent to the Chair of Examiners and the relevant administrator(s) only.  These reports should not be circulated to anyone else. Examiners should not be given access to any documentation that would reveal a student's identity (e.g. documents that contain both the candidate's name and number).


Information regarding the marking of scripts and adjudication can be found in the Examinations and assessments framework (EAF).

Please take note of these particular issues that may arise during marking:

  1. Illegible Scripts:  If a chair considers a script to be illegible, he or she must inform the Senior Tutor of the candidate’s college as quickly as possible. If there is a dispute between the Chair and the Senior Tutor as to the illegibility of a script or scripts, the question should be referred to the Proctors for a ruling. Chairs will need to return any illegible scripts, by hand, to the candidate’s college asking for them to be typed. The college will either make arrangements to use the Examinations and Assessments team transcription service or else will contact the Proctors for permission to type the script(s) in house. Chairs will be informed about the arrangements. The cost of the typing and invigilation shall not be a charge on the University.
  2. Missing or incomplete scripts: If an examiner or assessor finds that a script is missing from the delivered package, or that a script is conspicuously incomplete, the chair should be notified immediately, so that a check can be initiated with the Examinations and Assessments team and other markers. The Proctors should be informed promptly if it is not found.
  3. Scripts with inappropriate content:  Where examiners feel that the content of a candidate’s script indicates that s/he may require professional help, the chair should contact the Proctors’ Office for advice.

Related pages: Examination papers


Right to access of personal data

The Data Protection Act entitles an individual to make a subject access request in order to obtain a copy of any personal data held about them. Students may submit a subject access request via the online shop and obtain all personal data generated as part of the examination process. Due to a specific provision in the Data Protection Act, examination scripts are exempt from this general right of access, although a student is still entitled to any marks or comments recorded in the margins of a script. Under no circumstances should examiners, assessors, or administrative staff respond to direct requests for disclosure of information relating to the examination.

For further guidance refer to the Examinations and assessments framework (EAF).

Retention of records

The Data Protection Act requires that personal data should not be kept for longer than is necessary to meet the purpose for which it is being processed. Supervisory bodies should ensure that all examiners acting on their behalf are aware of the Proctorial requirements relating to the retention of records.

Proctors instructions for examiners with regards to the retention of records can be found in the Examinations and assessments framework (EAF). A summary is given below, but you are advised to also read the relevant section in the Examinations and assessments framework (EAF).

  • All examiners and assessors should hand over any material pertaining to the marking of the exam to the chair. They must sign a declaration that they no longer have such material.
  • The chair should retain these records, and records relating to the adjudication of candidates, including records of remarked scripts or on which the external examiner’s advice was sought, and the outcome; all medical evidence including a note, countersigned by external examiner(s), of any actions taken in reaching the final marks and degree results; the declarations of examiners. All this material must be deposited with the nominated administrative officer and retained for two years. Duplicates and confidential waste must be destroyed (this means shredded, not put intact in a bin).
  • Records should not be destroyed if an appeal to the Proctors is in progress
  • If any automated processing or weighting of results takes place, the chair should be able to provide a formal statement that explains the logic behind such processing.
  • Raw marks should not be disclosed to colleges or candidates.
  • If it is necessary to retain records in electronic form these should only include data to which there would be no objection to a candidate’s having access. This data should be retained for two years after the final examiners’ meeting. It may be kept beyond this time limit provided the information is depersonalised, or does not contain items that should be divulged.

Records for the future

The nominated administrative officer should retain copies of all agreed marks, and any notes relating to them, for two years after the final meeting.

Outgoing chairs should keep records for the assistance of future chairs on matters such as special problems encountered and arrangements made with the Head of Examinations and Assessments. The records should take the form of a chair’s book, which can be passed on each year. It is very important that chairs transmit to their successors any medical certificates and ongoing permissions for candidates likely to be resitting the examination, or any element of it. Reports are available via SITS of all approved alternative arrangements. It is advisable to leave these materials with a member of the Faculty/Departmental administrative staff who will pass them on to future chairs.

For further guidance refer to the Examinations and assessments framework (EAF).

Security, deposit and retention of scripts/submissions

Scripts and other examination submissions in the possession of examiners and assessors must be locked away, particularly before they have been marked.

Faculties and departments can retain scripts and submissions, rather than storing these in the Examination Schools, if they can provide suitable storage space. Scripts/submissions can still be stored in the Examination Schools if preferred, but will be destroyed six months after the publication of results.

Scripts and submissions sent to the Examination Schools should be packaged securely in boxes, clearly labelled with the name of the examination and the term and year, with the course code/paper numbers and in candidate number order.

For further guidance refer to the Examinations and assessments framework (EAF).


Related pages: Alternative examination arrangements, Examinations, Archiving and script retention


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