On the morning of the GCSE results being released, I heard on the radio that some English papers had been marked more vigorously. Can there be degrees of vigour?
These semantics are not what really concerns me, though. The reporter mentioned that the extra vigour had led to a difference of 10 marks that could result in a different grade.
Exam boards are companies vying for attention and business and want to be seen to respond to government initiatives. I feel sorry for the students from this academic year who, if they had handed in the exact same work the year before, would have received better grades. These grades would have meant better options for the future, or at least increased self-esteem.
Simply turning up the "vigometer" does not address the problem of our children's education. Surely a sense of enlightenment, an ability to reflect and a love of learning is what needs to be enhanced. The content and delivery of subjects should be the focus, not the way they are assessed.
I feel cheated, students feel cheated and society is cheated. Furthermore, the notion that this is just for this year is nonsense, but the year-by-year inflation of results was subtle (until now) and perhaps not questioned vigorously enough.
The worth of a company is not necessarily measured by its actual net worth. If our beloved students' hopes and ambitions are falsified, pawned in exchange for results, our ambition to seed the growth of a love of learning will perish. I'm not suggesting that our students are products on a conveyer belt, only that we should invest in our young people and assess where we are.
I understand the need for exam boards, but students deserve a chance to learn meaningfully and to be marked accurately.
Roger Murrell, Sevenoaks.