English test malaise runs deep;Letter

29th January 1999 at 00:00
JANE Eagland's letter about the re-marking of key stage 3 scripts (TES, January 15) is, I think, suggestive of a deeper malaise than the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority might wish to admit.

In my own school last year's KS3 English results were so far below expectations that we appealed immediately. Ten out of the 15 scripts submitted as a sample were raised in grades and, following a re-mark of the whole year's scripts 54 out of 127 students were awarded higher levels. In one case the error was of an order that meant the candidate went from level 3 to level 5.

A "rogue" marker was blamed for the errors, but I can't help wondering how many other schools have received depressed (and depressing!) results and not checked the scripts against the mark schemes to see if there are any mistakes or meanness in the marking.

There appeared to be no moderation of our scripts before I sent them back and this smacks of poor organisation. This kind of aberration raises serious questions which must be answered before anyone can put any trust in English results and the consequential league tables.

Tony Purcell

Head of English

The Alec Hunter high school

Stubbs Lane

Braintree, Essex

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