GCSE pupils penalised for poor spelling and grammar

The Telegraph is claiming results in key GCSE subjects could fall following the introduction of new rules that penalise pupils for poor spelling, punctuation and grammar…

The number of pupils given A* to C grades may drop after it was revealed that candidates will lose marks for poor standards of literacy for the first time this summer.

The changes – being applied to English literature, history, geography and religious studies – will see five per cent of marks deducted for misspelling words, sloppy sentence structure and poor use of full stops, question marks, commas and apostrophes.

Pupils will also be penalised for failing to adopt specialist vocabulary in their answers.

Spelling, punctuation and grammar is already worth 12 per cent of total marks in English and English language – reflecting the importance of these skills in the subjects.

The disclosure comes just days before 600,000 schoolchildren across England, Wales and Northern Ireland receive their GCSE results.

Reforms to exams in England have been introduced amid fears that thousands of children currently leave school without being able to compose a sentence, spell difficult words or write a coherent letter or email.

Business leaders have repeatedly complained that too many young people enter the workplace lacking basic literacy.

Prof Alan Smithers, director of the Centre for Education and Employment Research at Buckingham University, suggested it could lead to a decline in the number of top grades at a time when many pupils are allowing mobile phone “text speak” to creep into their written work.

“It is an important step because good spelling and grammar is crucial but it may well lower grades a bit, particularly as young people have been so keen to invent their own variations of the language for texts and Tweets,” he said.

“There is now a premium on shortening words and taking out things like capital letters and apostrophes. The effect has been to make language more concise but also lose all of the signals that enable us to properly understand meaning.

“If five per cent of marks are going to be lost for this it may well bring some children below the C grade boundary. This is going to be a very important consideration.”

More at:  GCSE pupils penalised for poor spelling and grammar

Do you agree that students should be penalised for poor spelling and grammar in these subjects? If so, is it fair that marks are lowered when this hasn’t been a factor in previous years – should there be an adjustment? Please share in the comments or on twitter… 

Schools prepare for worst over predicted fall in GCSE grades with many opting for 'easier' iGCSEs
Eton head argues against GCSEs and says students should not take any exams until they are 18
Categories: Secondary.


  1. frackham_edu

    SchoolsImprove huh? How is this news, we knew about this ages ago? Makes it sound like this has definitely happened, is that the case?

  2. MarkQui12591531

    SchoolsImprove What objective SPaG guidance is given to examiners? Can they always recognise a proper sentence?

  3. MinoHedgehog

    SchoolsImprove thanks for this. Let’s give our kids books, magazines, leaflets, brochures, take them to the library. LET ‘EM READ!

  4. teachcomputerEd

    SchoolsImprove Shouldn’t basic spelling & grammar be important? After all, it’s all about clear & accurate communication. Just my thoughts.

  5. gingerdisco99

    SchoolsImprove if you don’t correct at that age they are still doing it at A Level & Uni. Poor teachers though. Have to teach it to mark it

  6. Digitamworth

    SchoolsImprove Yet more disadvantage for those with #dyslexia unless they allow some concessions. Very worrying.

  7. The_Beacon_AET

    SchoolsImprove what about pupils with dyslexia? Surely this has to be taken into consideration doesn’t it? #sen #forgotten #personalised

  8. I do not know whether it’s just me or if perhaps everybody else experiencing issues with your blog.
    It appears as though some of the written text in your
    posts are running off the screen. Can someone else please comment and let me know if this is happening to them too?
    This may be a problem with my web browser because I’ve had this
    happen previously. Appreciate it

Let us know what you think...