Letters extra: art of change

10th August 2001 at 01:00

In April, I started to mark all my students' GCSE art and design work using the new Edexcel marking scheme. At in-service earlier I had been reassured that although the layout looked different, the objectives remained the same.

However, the syllabus, which I had been using for the past two years gave marks for a student's ability to analyse and evaluate their own work as well as that of others. The new marking scheme gave marks only for analysing and evaluating the work of other artists and there was no reference to the students' own work.

My teaching places a lot of emphasis on students' writing as a way of reflecting on their practice, hence this ommission troubled me. I rang Edexcel numerous times to help clarify this but received no satisfactory reply.

In July my moderator visited the school and I explained my confusion. I told her what Edexcel's advice had been but she didn't agree with it.

Edexcel give the impression (through in-service) that they have developed clear criteria for marking work. They claim that it is fair and objective but it is not. It is vague and open to interpretation.

In changing their marking scheme mid-course and failing to support teachers through the transition they will have lost the faith of many.

Paul Fox-Williams
Portsmouth

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