An insult to KS3 English markers

1st April 2005 at 01:00
As lead chief marker from 1995-2004 for the key stage 3 tests in English, I must challenge your description of the team of markers I was proud to be associated with as "a rag-tag army I inadequately qualified" ("Tests asking to be abolished", TES, March 18).

The markers you refer to were virtually all qualified English teachers with varied experience - some still completing training or new to the job, some retired, some on sickmaternity leave and some now advisers and consultants with local education authorities.

Did you really mean to express such contempt for the integrity, commitment and expertise of a significant section of the English teaching community?

Or did you mean "inadequately trained"? The training, as well as being monitored by experts from the National Assessment Agency, the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority and the Department for Education and Skills, was often attended by LEA advisers. This training was regularly described as "very useful Inset", often with material being replicated at LEA training meetings.

Your editorial seems intemperate and ill-considered. I am reminded of those pupils who, when challenged in the classroom for making comments of that order, would reply "I'm entitled to my opinion!" - to which my response was always: "Of course, provided it's rooted in evidence and logic. Without that, it's not an opinion but mere prejudice!"

John Green

43 Heron Drive, Wakefield

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