I have often heard teachers complain about examiners hardly ever bothering to write in the general comments section on exam reports these days. Therefore, I thought I would report what I have heard second hand what someone said who recently did the examiner training.
Apparently, trainee examiners are now discouraged from writing anything there. I'm not sure if this is a strict policy or just what they are encouraged to do, but the general comments bit is now just reserved for giving the reason a candidate failed, or just missed the next category up (118 or 128). Also general words of congratulation for distinction candidates still seem to be accepted.
It would seem the board are trying to do all they can to keep examiners to task on keeping comments strictly relating the the criteria, and minimise opportunities for complaints and appeals. It's all quite understandable in their attempt to improve consistency and curb any maverick tendencies in examiners. However, I hear that examiners going through the process are frustrated at having to repress any individuality.
I can certainly see this one from both sides, but just thought I would share as it is something that is often commented on. The lack of general comments is not the fault of indifference from the examiners, but ABRSM training policy.