Cowards' answerto high marks

6th August 2004 at 01:00
I must comment on your front-page article "Literacy scores improve at last" (TES, July 16).

Having just completed my 30th year in teaching, a lot of which has been spent with Year 6 children and national tests, nothing surprises me anymore.

I can only say that in my own school, the return of papers would normally see a frenzy of activity to scrutinise and return those that were borderline, the marking of which we disagreed with, given the criteria.

These would duly come back upgraded.

This year, however, has seen no repeat of such frenzied activity. The reason? The writing scores could not have been better! According to our teacher assessments, they should have been a lot lower. Children were scoring higher marks on writing than for reading; unheard of. On further investigation, we found children with unjustifiably high marks and embarrassing anomalies. So why aren't we being honest and returning all those scripts we thought were incorrectly marked? Because we are cowards and want to keep the education authority, literacy consultant, governors and head off our backs.

Interestingly enough, your lead article shared the page with: "Markers protest at pressure to raise grades". Spot the connection? I feel sorry for all those children in previous years who were justifiably level 5 writers, but were labelled as level 4. Not that it matters in the long run, but children are easily hurt.

Bryn Jones

50b Main Street



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