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Less of it

Teachers have been remarkably complimentary - we gather - about the professional development workshops run for the Scottish Qualifications Authority by Colin Eckford, principal assessor for Higher English (the phrase poisoned chalice springs to mind).

Eckford's workshops include guidance to teachers on marking, and a useful handout highlights areas of concern. Under the heading of Technical Accuracy, it appears that one of the "minor irritants" is the frequent misuse of, and confusion between, those old favourites less and fewer.

As luck would have it, within two days of a workshop, an informant received a Summary of the Derived Grades Procedure for National Qualifications from Eckford's masters at the SQA.

In a communication burdened with statistical-speak, it recommends: "Where a centre has less than six candidates with the same estimate, none of these candidates will be eligible for a Derived Grade . . ."

Surely the less statements like that, the better?

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