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Data protection legislation gives individuals (data subjects) a number of rights including the right to access personal data organisations hold about them.

Universities often receive requests about examination performance from students. These requests normally fall into four main types:

  • Examination scripts
  • Examiner's comments - internal and external
  • Examination board minutes
  • Examination results
Examination scripts

Examination scripts are specifically exempted from disclosure, under the subject access provisions covered by data protection legislation, and it is UCL policy not to provide students with copies.

Examiner's comments

Internal and external

Whilst examination scripts, are specifically exempted from disclosure, the comments made by both internal and external examiners, are included in the definition of “personal data”. Whether the comments are written on a separate markers sheet, or on the examination script. Students are entitled to request to view and receive copies of them. The legislation requires that all copies should be provided 'in an intelligible form'.

It is UCL policy that, unless required for quality audit, all examination scripts are retained for one year after the Board of Examiners meeting and then confidentially destroyed. We are therefore unable to comply with requests for examiners comments relating to papers taken outside of these timeframes as they are no longer in existence.

Further advice and guidance on retention and disposal of records is available from the:

Examination board minutes

The minutes of the Examination Boards which contain information about candidates by name, or by other information which may identify a candidate. Copies of those parts of the minutes can be provided, unless to do so would identify the personal data about another third party. In these instances the information should be anonymised or redacted before releasing the minutes to the data subject who has made the request.

Examination results

Examination results are personal data and should not be disclosed to third parties without their consent. The university should provide students with an explanation as to where, and how they may see their results.

Students cannot request to see a copy of their examination results before they are officially published. Examination marks are excluded from the normal 40 day timescale. UCL will disclose this information either five months from the day on which the request was received, or 40 days from the announcement of the results, whichever is earlier.

Good practice - informal feedback

There is nothing to prevent academic staff from meeting with students to provide informal feedback, including showing them the scripts, and, or providing the comments which they relate to. We encourage academic departments to do this, rather than asking students to make a formal subject access request through the data protection legislation for the information.


Note that none of the information outlined above affects a student's right to submit a Subject Access Request.