Exam markers have signed up to work for the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) this year without realising their pay could drop.
The SQA told its 7,000 markers last year that a new pay structure would be fairer and the "vast majority" would earn at least as much as in 200809, but failed to mention one crucial change.
The general fee has been removed, a fact that many will only have discovered months after agreeing to be markers. They were informed of the change last week by letter, in which the SQA apologised that "earlier communications did not make this clear".
The removal of the general fee means many markers expecting to be paid more this year will actually see their earnings fall. Even where they get an increase, it is likely to be much smaller than script fees suggest.
A spokesman said: "If there is a concern that confusion does exist about the removal of the general fee or any other part of the new system then, clearly, we should have been more explicit in our explanations to markers."
He said that the majority of markers would not lose out.
In subjects where the script fee has fallen, the loss of the general fee will have a significant impact. Marking of 100 scripts for standard grade business management, at Foundation level, will earn #163;142, down from #163;337.50 last year. HH.