AS-level resits out of control

So there has been a "surge in resits" at AS-level, adding further hundreds of thousands to what schools spend on exam fees ("Resit craze causes mayhem in schools", TES, September 6).

Is anyone surprised? Under the new rules, if a candidate asks for a paper to be re-marked, the mark can now go down as well as up. If, on the other hand, he or she resits the paper, the higher mark is the one that counts. A candidate who wants a few extra marks may well feel that there is nothing to lose, even if the paper is retaken with no further preparation.

Last year's AS candidates are this year's A2 candidates, Resitting AS-levels during the A2 course can, of course, be pointless, disruptive and ultimately counterproductive.

However, it is not easy to convince some students and their parents of this - least of all, probably, in those schools where examination fees are normally met by the school and re-mark fees by the parents.

Was it really sensible to change the rules on re-marks at exactly the moment when examiners were going to become particularly hard to find, and when schools' examination budgets were going to be placed under huge additional strain?

Eleanor Relle

Head of English

Queen's College

43-49 Harley Street

London W1

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