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Teachers' anger over test 'lottery'

Teachers this week spoke out about their frustration over alleged inconsistencies in marking in this year's key stage 3 results. Martin Jacks, head of English at Coombe Dean school in Plymouth, has asked the National Assessment Agency, the testing arm of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority for a group review of all its 190 pupils' English written papers.

He said: "The results are reasonable. They are only a couple of percentage points below the local authority target but we noticed a significant number of pupils got a lower level than their work warranted." Mr Jacks said the marking scheme had not been correctly applied as one pupil only achieved one mark out of four for spelling because she misspelt "recipe".

Other pupils who made multiple or more simple errors and were awarded two or three points. by examiners This is the third time in five years the school has returned pupils' exam scripts for appeal.

The agency said tests were tried in school and its mark schemes carefully designed. A spokesman said markers were closely monitored.

The head of English at an Oxfordshire school is annoyed that 28 pupils were awarded an N (no grade, or fail) for their English written papers because the papers were missing.

The "missing" papers had in fact been marked and sent back to the school.

In an email to the TES, the teacher said: "The QCA was willing to throw away the marks of these 28 students with allegedly missing scripts when all along it was an administrative oversight.

"What a flawed system. All that money and wasted curriculum time for an examination that carries no weight, is grossly unreliable and is shambolically administered."

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