Marking blamed for thousands of reviews

29th September 2000 at 01:00
10 per cent more English KS2 papers are returned. Julie Henry and Geraldine Hackett report.

PRIMARY teachers asked for a review of more than 5,000 English national test grades this year because of "appalling" marking.

Out of 600,000 key stage 2 papers, 5,473 were sent back to be re-marked, a 10 per cent increase on 1999.

However, requests for reviews of key stage 2 maths and science papers fell from 797 to 593 and 1,170 to 976 respectively.

A spokesman for the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority,the agency responsible for the tests, said most of the English appeals related to writing. The National Primary Headteachers Association described the marking of the writing papers as appalling.

Queniborough primary, in Leicestershire, returned half of its English papers and all were upgraded, increasing the number of children reaching the expected level from 33 to 56 per cent.

An analysis of the key stage 2 maths results carried out for The TES for by John Howson, visiting professor at Oxford Brookes University, reveals that primaries in nearly a third of inner-London boroughs made little or no ains at all.

In Camden, Haringey, Ealing and Enfield maths scores are static, but all four showed above-average improvement in 1999.

Professor Howson said the results might be an indication that teacher shortages in the capital were having an impact.

But Simon Jenkin, acting director of education in Haringey, where services are being privatised, said he found no evidence that teacher shortages had had an impact on results this year.

"I don't have an explanation at the moment. There are large numbers of asylum-seekers in the schools and high pupil turnover. Results do show wild fluctuations from year to year," he said.

London authorities account for five of the 10 lowest performers in the country in key stage 2 maths. They include areas with high levels of deprivation such as Hackney, Haringey and Southwark.

Education services in these boroughs are at least partially contracted out or are in the process of being transferred to the private sector.

The three inner-London areas, plus Newham and Greenwich take up half the bottom 10 places in the league table of local authorities.

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