Doubt over value of exam boards' services

Yvonne Williams

After two years of teaching the new GCSE, I wonder whether the services provided to schools by exam boards are good value.

In English language and literature, teachers mark at least 15 hours of controlled assessments, while the board is responsible for five-and-a-half hours of terminal exams. In modern foreign languages, teachers mark written French and oral controlled assessments, requiring detailed qualitative assessment, while the board deals with two multiple-choice exams that might easily be marked by computer. It's a bit like hiring a gardener to supervise you planting and mowing the lawn while he trims the edges.

Yvonne Williams, Ryde, Isle of Wight.

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Yvonne Williams

Yvonne Williams is a head of English and drama in a school in the south of England

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