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Examination Data Retention Policy

The Faculty Board of Biology have produced the following statement for the Medical and Veterinary Sciences Tripos, in response to the University Guidelines issued by the General Board on the handling and retention of data relating to examinations of taught courses.

The Secretary of the Faculty Board of Biology holds markbooks containing a breakdown of marks for each examination paper, or coursework, for subjects in Part IA and Part IB of the MVST. The information contained in these markbooks is communicated to students normally through their College Director of Studies. Markbooks will be retained indefinitely.

This information can also be obtained by applying in writing to the following address:

Faculty Examinations Officer
Faculty Board of Biology
17 Mill Lane
Cambridge CB2 1RX

Other information, including marks for individual questions or other interim marks, and comments made on scripts, is considered to be relatively meaningless as an indication of examination performance, given the moderation processes that are used in determining a class by Examiners. These data are retained for one month after the final Examiners' meeting and then destroyed. Access to this data is through the Chairman of Examiners.

The Faculty Board recommend that Examiners follow the guidance issued by the Education Committee regarding writing on scripts. This advice is based on two principles: objectivity of marking (where double marking is used) and the administrative complications of retaining and disseminating comments on scripts to students if requested to do so under the Data Protection Act 1998. Examiners are recommended to document their marks and comments separately from scripts, but where they think it sensible and prudent for marks and comments to be made on scripts, Examiners should take due care that this data can be retrieved easily if a request is made. It is the responsibility of the Examiners, or the relevant department, to ensure that there are resources and procedures in place to deal with any such requests as they arise. The return of written answers in exam scripts is exempt; only examiners' comments and marks need be returned.

Where any automated compiling or processing of marks is used, the results are subsequently deliberated by the Board of Examiners responsible.


Release of data under this policy does not constitute a subject access request under the Data Protection Act 1998. Requests for access to all other personal data should be directed to the University Data Protection Officer.