If you frequent the OCC you will probably see reminders to fill out a G2 form for all the exams that your students took.

In the past, I found that I thought the exams were fine at first glance but after discussing them in workshops and looking over the markscheme I began to see serious problems in them. Part of the issue is that I tend to overthink things, and create difficult scenarios where none exist. But the other part of the issue is that we need time and quiet to read through the exams and comment upon them thoughtfully. Most of us will focus on the questions that we are hoping our students answer, and that is a good strategy. But many of us are also trying to complete the G2 form in a timely manner and our approach is one of hastiness.

The difficulty queries are not very helpful but the comments sections can be instructive. Unfortunately, very few teachers take the time to submit the form. Each subject report gives the number of responses received and it is probably less than 10% of schools that respond.

I think that many of us wonder what happens with the forms. I know that they are read by the examination team at grade award. And I know that they are taken seriously. But what can really be done? For example, the November 2011 Paper 1 for Communism on Crisis has sources on it from the 1960s but the parameters for the subject are 1976-1989. I am certain that most of us who prepare this subject go back to the 1960s to provide context and background but really, the paper is beyond the scope of the syllabus. Since the students must take the test they have in front of them, is there any recourse for this? Are they exempt from a question that asks them about this source? How is this treated.

If you read the OCC History forum there are a number of conspiracy theorists who are convinced that the chief and deputy-chief examiners are responsible for such things. In reality, there is question setting, paper editing and final editing. At times – especially when exams are translated – no examiners are actually involved in the process yet they are maligned because they are the known entities. So – who determines what happens when a question is faulty? Are the essays graded by a different standard?

If not, what is the purpose of the G2? Here is where I would like to see transparency. Are there examples where comments on the G2 led to changes in how history exams were assessed? Knowledge of this would be reassuring and give teachers a sense that they are helping in the process if they read the exams carefully and respond with their G2 forms.