Dalkeith warned that school checks would add to chaos

25th August 2000 at 01:00
THE suggestion that exam papers should be returned to schools for scrutiny is firmly rejected by an assistant headteacher and union activist.

Richard Goring of Hamilton Grammar, who is education convener of the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association, says: "The majority of staff who would have access to them have no experience in marking and have not attended any markers' meetings."

Such teachers would show "an understandable tendency to 'look for marks' to upgrade results", particularly as league tables increase their accountability.

Mr Goring's comments form part of a paper for the the union's executive. He identifies three priorities to avoid a repetition of this year's problems. The Scottish Qualifications Authority must improve its accuracy in handling data, teacher workload must be reduced and there must be continuous feedback to schools.

With 270 pupils in S5-S6, he pent more than 100 hours entering them for subjects and recording results. There were about 1,250 individual course entries, 3,750 unit entries and 3,750 results. "Add deferred results and reinstatements (around 1,000) to give 10,000 actions each year," Mr Goring claims.

"I hope to delegate the more mechanistic elements of this to a member of the office staff in future, but this is only possible when there is confidence in the systems. Even then, an experienced eye will still be required to monitor the procedure."

Mr Goring condemns the SQA's request that every school make a teacher available for three weeks in July to handle problems. "Although staff will always respond to an emergency, it cannot be an assumption that they will always be available during holiday periods," Mr Goring says. "The SQA does not employ school staff. Therefore it cannot make demands on their time."

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