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

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