The Sunday Times is reporting concerns from headteachers that thousands of pupils may have had their futures blighted by faulty marking of GCSE and A-level papers, according to head teachers…
One said he believed there was “a rogue marker at work”.
At Brighton College, a leading boarding school in East Sussex, more than 200 pupils’ GCSE English and religious studies papers are being re-marked after the AQA exam board admitted some of the results were “concerning”. It has apologised to the school.
Sixth-formers at the college have seen huge rises in their scores — in one case from a U to an A grade — after the school also appealed against several unexpected A-level results.
Head teacher Richard Cairns said “thousands of children nationwide” were likely to be affected by poor marking of this summer’s exams. “Bad marking can cost youngsters their place at a top university and change the whole pattern of their life,” he said. He blamed poorly paid and inexperienced markers and urged the government to act.
Teaching unions will this week send a survey to every state secondary school to ask for evidence from heads who want to challenge the marking in this summer’s exams. Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Lecturers, said: “We are aware of hundreds of schools which have submitted appeals and have had marks changed. We are so concerned that we are now monitoring the extent of this nationwide.”
Lightman said in some state schools, which rarely query exam grades because of the £40 charge to challenge each paper, many children risked not getting the results they deserved and had worked for.
“It is a lot of money to get exams re-marked and that is a deterrent for state schools,” he said. “The volatility in results has undermined confidence in the exam system.”
Finn Maunder, 18, a Brighton College sixth-former who was predicted to get three A* grades at A-level, had his hopes of a Cambridge place dashed when one of his history papers for the OCR exam board was scored as a D last month.
“We couldn’t believe a young man with so many A*s at GCSE and with genuine Oxbridge aspirations could do so badly in the A-level subject he loved most,” said Cairns. After the school challenged the result, the board raised the grade to A*…
More at: ‘Rogue’ and novice exam markers risk pupils’ futures (subscription required)
Do you share these concerns about the quality of marking? Is it a question of a few mistakes being made, which might be almost inevitable amongst the large numbers of papers being marked, or is there something more seriously wrong here? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments or via Twitter…
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