MSPs slam muddle on markers

18th May 2001 at 01:00
LACK of clarity and consistency by SQA senior executives over the number of markers required and actually contracted for this summer's exams bewildered the public, the Parliament's education committee said.

Targets for recruitment of markers have wobbled over a number of months and suddenly leapt to 9,420, up from a previously assured total of 8,800, which had a built-in 10 per cent contingency.

Mike Russell, SNP education spokesman, said: "The moving target leads to confusion."

But Bill Morton, SQA chief executive, replied that it was "a dynamic process" and targets changed as the authority received hard data from schools and colleges. Tis changed right up until the last minute.

A shortage of 1,184 markers for the main exams was confirmed on Wednesday, contrary to statements two weeks ago about positive responses from teachers and lecturers.

The shortage has forced Colin MacLean, the Scottish Executive's exam co-ordinator, to appeal to local authorities for schools to release staff from teaching duties to plug any marking gaps. The Executive will pay for supply cover.

Mr Morton assured MSPs that all papers will be marked by experienced staff. The authority needs more markers this year because of the increased number of courses at different Higher Still levels.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today