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Extra pay for exam markers

The Welsh Joint Education Committee is to receive more than pound;600,000 to improve exam markers' pay and bring its administrative procedures into line with other exam boards.

More "modernisation" money may be available over the next two years to explore computer-based alternatives to the current "pen and paper" exams and assessments taken by thousands of youngsters.

John Valentine Williams, chief executive of ACCAC, the Welsh curriculum, qualifications and assessment authority, said the bulk of the pound;600,000 would go on pay increases for exam markers this summer.

He added: "The WJEC is also going to be looking at modernising the administrative arrangements for exams to make them more consistent across the awarding bodies. That would mean an examinations officer in a school or college, faced with admitting a particular candidate for a particular exam, would find common procedures across the five UK bodies.

"The impact of e-developments on exams is a matter we are looking at both in terms of e-marking and e-assessment. That will not come out of this pot, but possibly from future years' allocations."

Gareth Pierce, the WJEC's chief executive, said: "This is a three-year programme. We hope some of the things to do with using IT in processing exams and in e-communications with schools will come into use by the second year."

Money for the exam boards in England was announced last November, by Education Secretary Charles Clarke.

Gethin Lewis, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers Cymru, welcomed the cash.

"This is a helpful announcement and it means the national exam board in Wales won't be held back," he said.

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