Rote: only way to be truly correct

13th August 2004 at 01:00
The head of English who wrote about nonsensical nit-picking in English Sats (TES, July 30 ) is being far too generous. I would describe such a marking scheme as "criminally scandalous".

How can pupils be expected to use identical expressions in formulating an answer? If the gist of the meaning is there, according to the professional opinion of the examiner, then the answer is clearly correct. Answer schemes which do not allow an examiner to use his common sense are themselves "incorrect" and should not be used.

I suspect that those who prepare such marking schemes do not understand the meaning of "standardisation". Uniform answers can only result from a corrupt system of rote learning of "correct" answers.

Tony Ireland 512 Bury Old Road Prestwich, Manchester

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