Starting as an exams officer for the first time can feel a bit like being dropped into a foreign country without a bilingual dictionary. In any sector, we tend to use shorthand when we speak – sometimes without even realising we’re doing it. Education is no different and there are technical terms and acronyms aplenty. Once you understand these, you’re halfway there. So, if you don’t know your UCI from your ULN, or your EDI from your elbow, then here’s a few hints to get you through exams and results.
Basedata – Electronic exam data files which contain There are technical terms and acronyms aplenty. Once you understand these, you're halfway there.entry codes, timetable and fee information. Basedata files are provided by awarding bodies to centres and are imported into your management information system (MIS). Make sure you’ve downloaded the most recent version of the basedata before results are issued – we publish basedata, and a schedule of when it’s released, on our website.
Certification – This is also known as cashing-in or aggregating. For unitised qualifications, a certification entry pulls together unit results so an overall subject grade can be calculated. The UCI (see below) is critical for this process.
EARs – This stands for enquiries about results. These are post-results services provided by awarding bodies and can be requested after results are released. This can be either a clerical re-check (also known as a service 1), a review of marking (known as a service 2, or priority service 2 for Level 3 qualifications only) or a review of moderation (service 3).
EDI – Electronic data interchange files can be sent via the A2C migration tool using basedata (see above). Alternatively you can send them via our secure site, OCR Interchange.
Exam series – A group of exams/assessments held in a specific period – normally described by month and year e.g. June 2016. (GCSEs and AS/A Levels now only run in the summer – June – series).
Exam session – The period when exams/assessments are taken on a particular day, e.g. either the morning or the afternoon session.
ICE – The Instructions for Conducting Exams (ICE) are regulations published each year by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ). A guaranteed cure for insomnia but essential reading for exams officers nonetheless!
ULN – The unique learner number is a mandatory 10 digit number allocated to each of your candidates and are used to list all students’ exam achievements on the learning records service (LRS). This record is called the personal learning record (PLR) and it stores candidates' learning achievements from all exam boards in one place. To find out more about obtaining ULNs then why not read our blog, Guide to unique learner numbers.
UCI – The unique candidate identifier is a 13 character identifier allocated to each candidate. These are given to students by centres when making entries for general qualifications. It’s essential the candidate only has one! Multiple UCIs are a common reason for receiving entry warning reports.
The Exams Office is an organisation which supports exams officers and publishes an extensive glossary of terms. To access some of the available tools, you’ll need to subscribe as a member (there’s a discount for OCR centres), but much of the site is free to access.
If there’s anything you’re not sure of, we’re here to support you and the exams officer’s area of our website has lots of information you may find useful. Do you know your local Customer Support Manager? They can help you find your local network meeting where you can meet other exams officers in your area and exchange tips and ideas. You may also find our monthly exams officer update helpful – it’s a great way of keeping up to date with new developments plus lots of hints and reminders.
Gail White - Customer Support Manager (East Midlands)