Thousands of students will receive their grades online for the first time today.
At least 28,000 will be able to access A-level marks on the internet in a landmark move by Edexcel, one of England's biggest exam boards. Candidates can access scores on its ResultsPlus site from 6am - a few hours before most schools and colleges open their doors.
Pupils will also have a "grade-o-meter", which will show whether they just scraped a C or were closer to a B, which Edexcel believes will enable them to make better-informed decisions about whether to appeal against their results. The technology will also enable pupils and parents to compare in detail their school's exam results with those of schools across the country.
Experts predict that the days of crowding around the school noticeboard may be a thing of the past as almost all pupils in coming years will be able to get A-level and GCSEs on-line.
Last year, Ken Boston, the chief executive of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, England's exam watchdog, said that in the future all students should be able to access marks on the internet or by a text message up to four days before results day.
However, there are fears that the technology could backfire. Earlier this month, almost 35,000 pupils registered to receive Scottish Higher and Standard Grades via a newly designed website.
It was feared that up to 3,000 were unable to log on after forgetting their passwords and some complained that they successfully logged on to the website only to be hit by an "error message".
However, a spokesman for Edexcel - the only board in England so far to offer results by computer - said its system had been "rigorously" checked by engineers. About 2,000 schools and colleges had registered for the service.
Today, at least 28,000 students will be able to access grades. Next week a further 28,000 will use the service to check GCSE scores.
Last year, Edexcel piloted the technology in 10 schools, allowing 2,000 students to access grades.
Edexcel's rival boards - OCR and AQA - have no plans to set up a service yet. AQA, the largest exam board in England and Wales, said it wanted to hear how schools and colleges would prefer to receive results before deciding whether to use emails.
However, there are fears that use of the technology could increase the demand for re-grades. Many head teachers have already complained that the exam system was close to collapse because of the number of papers sent for remarking.
Carole Whitty, the deputy general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said earlier this year that the system would put pressure on teachers to double-check pupils' results - and was likely to increase appeals. "The more mistakes found, the more insecure the system becomes," she said. "And it's insecure already."
However, head teachers who took part in the pilot programme defended the system. Chris Montacute, head of Wootton Bassett school, Wilts, said it had helped teachers spot borderline cases where there were genuine concerns.
Source: The Telegraph