Love is marking 1,000 scripts

16th February 2001 at 00:00
We feel a poem coming on, prompted by news last week from the Scottish Qualifications Authority that it will be business as usual in assessing unit results for this year's exams.

Well, not our poem exactly. We are grateful to Hugh McMillan and to the latest edition of Cencrastus magazine which published his lyrical musings on the business of marking exam scripts. McMillan, a history teacher at Dumfries Academy, has "taken on a thousand papers so that myself and Jane can go on our honeymoon to Spain."

He may be comendably clear about his real reasons for marking but less so, it seems, about one pupil's efforts.

"I see, Linn McGarr, you think Asquith was murdered by Emily Pankhurst in 1903.

After another pint I am tempted to agree (his later photographs show a corpse-like pallor) and Trotsky, you say, overthrew Stalin.

Credit will always be given to valid pieces of wishful thinking, and your response to the Triple Entente, 'Who cares?', seems sublime, succinct, though it's not in the marking scheme . . . "

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