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John Simkin

GCSE Exam Marking this Year

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A friend of mine has just finished marking GCSE Science scripts. She forecasts that there will be a decline in achievement grades this year. The reason for this is that this year examiners have been told that students must be marked down if they do not answer in grammatical correct sentences. As a result, the students have received lower marks than in previous years. She says that this has particularly hurt students where English is not their first language.

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There has been 5% of total marks awarded for SPAG (Spelling punctuation and grammar) in GCSE for years .... or is this something more stringent?

The story surrounding Science would appear to be more about 'standards' in Science rather than written English. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-23290889

She has been marking papers for several years. This is something very different. For example, a question is answered correctly. It is worth 2 marks but if the English is poor she was only allowed to give it 1 mark.

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Its a few years since I examined. This sounds potentially quite worrying. The emphasis always used to be on 'positive marking' - viz. giving students credit for what they had learnt rather than penalising them for errors. It was a sound principle which celebrated learning.

Perhaps this is another example of Gove's 'rigour' (mortis)?

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Have you considered becoming Minister for Education? :news

I know too much about education to be offered that job.

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The word education is related to the Latin verb educere which means "bring out", develop from a latent condition. Mr Gove please note it is nothing to do with 'stuffing in' great chunks of information then testing memory.

Which is why education policy obsessed with measurable outcomes is ultimately so harmful to the authentic education of the young.

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But who decides what is a correct word to begin or end a sentence with?! Has Michael Gove provided Exam Boards with his 'Times' Style Book from his former job? Have examiners been given sufficient training to even be consistent in their new role as grammar police?

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