Exam candidates forget basic grammar

The Times is reporting that GCSE examiners have expressed concerns over standards of grammar and handwriting in some of the papers they have been marking this year…

Teenagers were so enthusiastic during GCSE exams this year that some dispensed with punctuation altogether, in addition to having abandoned good grammar and spelling.

…Examiners from the OCR board complained that in one English literature paper, several candidates had presented a one-paragraph answer that ran to three pages.

…a geography examiner said: “The quality of spelling, punctuation and grammar is becoming increasingly worrying. Key terms are often incorrectly spelt, even when they could be copied from the resource booklet . . . a large number of candidates gave ‘volcanoe’ as the singular of volcanoes.”

Since last year, English literature, geography, history and religious studies exams are scrutinised for grammar, as part of Michael Gove’s reforms.

Even so, there were further complaints that examiners were at a loss to tell if answers had been spelt correctly, because the handwriting was indecipherable…

More at: Exam candidates forget basic grammar (subscription required)


Is this likely to be an eternal concern from examiners or is there any reason to believe things might be getting worse? Please give us your thoughts in the comments or via Twitter…


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Categories: Secondary.


  1. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Grammar errors in exams don’t have squiggly green lines underneath. Technological advances are great but wIll lead to this

  2. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove I have to admit that my grammar was pretty poor until I started writing sports articles for my local paper – had to improve

  3. MoyraMahoney

    SchoolsImprove bsfc_literacy I’m not surprised as I teach post 16. Time given now 1.5 hrs a week- seriously limiting for real progress spg

  4. SchoolAdvisorUK

    SchoolsImprove Oh dear – exam papers must have been hard to mark if Grammar was poor. #schooladvisor #rateyourschool #edchat

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