The Independent is reporting warnings that shoddy marking standards mean that hundreds of teenagers are wrongly missing out on places at their first-choice universities and eroding public confidence in Britain’s exam system.
Christopher King, chairman of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC) – which represents 275 of the country’s best known independent schools, will reveal that hundreds of students have lost places at their first choice universities – simply because their A-level marks were wrong.
“We know of cases where, after re-remarks have come through, their pupils are confirmed as having exceeded the offer of their first choice university yet have nevertheless been told – inexplicably – that they no longer have a place for that year,” he will tell his annual conference at St Andrews University in Scotland.
Mr King, who is headmaster of Leicester Grammar School, will add: “So they have been let down twice: first by inaccurate marking and second by a university unwilling to behave honourably. We all know this can have a terrible impact of the young people concerned.”
Mr King will reveal that 77,450 A-level and GCSE papers were regraded last year – a 42 per cent rise on the figures for the previous year.
He will say the education system is facing a “perfect storm of both decreasing public confidence and increasing pressure in the system as the greater emphasis on end-of-term exams creates even more work for examiners over the summer”…
Mr King will claim this crisis is as a result of an inadequate examiner workforce and a “byzantine” appeals process which is too cumbersom and costly for many state schools to be able to afford.
“The fact is the exams workforce has been operating as a ‘cottage industry’ which – despite some modernisation – now needs to reinvent itself for the 21st century,” he will argue…
Very strong criticism here of the quality of marking at A-level and the overall exam system – it is justified?
And if the system were to reinvent itself for the 21st century, what would it need to do differently?
Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…
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