“Appalling marking” means pupils fail to make grade

The Times is reporting that head teachers of leading schools say that “appalling” standards of marking have left highly academic teenagers with poor results in this year’s GCSEs and A levels…

One pupil missed out on a university place after an examiner wrongly added up the marks in his French A-level paper. He is one of thousands of pupils whose exam results were found on re-marking to be inaccurate.

It raises fears about the low calibre of examiners and has led to speculation that exam boards are struggling to cope with more end-of-course marking, after the scrapping of modules in GCSEs.

Richard Harman, chairman of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference, which represents 260 leading independent schools, said that the quality of marking was not good enough.

He said that Ofqual, the exams regulator, had admitted that 6 per cent of examiners were inadequate, and calculated that they were responsible for almost a million scripts.

Mr Harman, the headmaster of Uppingham School in Rutland, said: “That’s 6 per cent too many, and equates to 950,000 exam scripts by my calculation. It’s far too high and means there are major problems for candidates. It’s not good enough in terms of standards of marking.”

He said the full impact of inaccurate marking on university entrance may not have been seen this year because universities had been allowed to recruit more students, whereas teenagers unfairly denied the right grades would have been turned away by the institutions of their choice in previous years…

More at: Appalling marking means pupils fail to make grade (subscription required)


This is the second story of this nature we’ve had so far this week but what do you make of the claim here that Ofqual has admitted 6% of examiners are inadequate? Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…


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  1. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove This is a consequence of having exams in the open market & driven by profit (costs are cut). Ofqual need to do their job

  2. andylutwyche

    “NuttySalt: andylutwyche SchoolsImprove & students off to second choice uni’s” Quite – pretty rubbish all round

  3. HughdjNicklin

    SchoolsImprove or perhaps Appalling Lack of Effort, or even Appalling lack of Teaching. (Whisper) Appalling lack of ability?

  4. irvingphil

    SchoolsImprove Ofqual have instructed stricter (lower) marking but boards haven’t changed mark schemes. How could marking not be awful?

  5. irvingphil

    SchoolsImprove essentially they’re undermarking en masse; it’s only the ones that are challenged that are getting picked up.

  6. CJessicaC65

    SchoolsImprove Sarahmgilbert63 As an A grade-rated examiner who takes examining seriously, reports like this make me very cross!

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