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Subject Acces Requests

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has explained how, under the Data Protection Act, students can find out exactly what the examiner thins of their work.

In light of yesterday’s A Level results, David Smith, Deputy Commissioner for Data Protection said:

“We’ve all experienced the excitement and occasional disappointment that the exam season can bring. We’re using results day to remind students that they have a right under the Data Protection Act to see information about their results. Having access to information – such as a breakdown of their overall mark and examiners’ comments – may not lead to their grades being altered but it could help them make decisions that impact on their future, such as deciding to re-sit an exam or pursue a particular subject at college or university.”

“This right doesn’t just apply to A-level exams. Students sitting GCSEs, Scottish Highers and degree examinations can also request to see their information. If examination bodies fail in their legal duty to respond then students can bring a complaint to the ICO and we will look into it.”

A ‘subject access request’ can be made by any individual; this is the term given when any individual wants to know what information an organisation knows about them. An organisation has 40 days to respond to such a request; exam boards can have either 40 days from exam results being published, or within 5 months of the request being received – whichever is earliest.

Taken from the ICO’s website, the following link is a guide that schools and universities can use when dealing with a subject access request. http://www.ico.gov.uk/for_organisations/sector_guides/education.aspx