Monday, September 28, 2009


I've written about Coursework before- how it used to be a complete farce when the pupils did it at home. (Those with good parents got them to help, or pay me to do it; whilst those whose parents wore gold chains and football shirts simply lost it)

No doubt entirely due to my rantings, the system was changed so that Coursework is now done in school under something like exam style conditions. This has been a big improvement and generally results in work being handed in that has mainly been done by the kids themselves.

So far, so good. Now their teacher marks it.

Hang on a minute, I hear you say. Their own teacher actually marks their exam work? Oh yes.

My friend Ernie is a strict marker. If it's wrong then it gets marked wrong. Unfortunately this results in his groups getting lower Coursework marks than the others, which reflects badly on him. His protests that the other teachers mark far too softly have fallen on deaf ears, as the marking guidelines are open to a huge range of interpretation because the questions themselves are often vague. Last week he showed me half a dozen examples of answers where the pupil clearly had no idea what is going on, but they had been given almost full marks by others in his department. It was very sad to see.

"There's only one thing for it!" he declared sagely. "I need to sort myself out and start marking these wrong answers right. That's the way forward"


oliviascotland said...

It really makes me wonder whether these exams are even worth taking. My eldest is starting the first tranche of GCSEs this year, and I am really worried about how this will work. Thankfully, the subjects she's taking this time around do not require much in the way of coursework ... She is outside the state system, but will any pass marks be devalued by the optimistic marking that takes place??

MCM said...

Stop whining, "teacher". Either ake a stand and put your money whre your mouth is... or get another damned job. You simpering bitch.

Anonymous said...

MCM 16.09

"Ake a stand" ?
" money whre your mouth is"?

What are you on about? Are you refering to the post above ( who doesn't say she's a "teacher")or to Frank's post, in which case you need to be aware he is a male (the name Frank being the clue here), so "simpering bitch" is a bit of a strange insult.

On second thoughts, your post might have earned you an A* in the current English GCSE exams.

On third're a cock.

Mosher said...

Anon - instinct and experience tells me not to "feed the troll". But I do simply have to put my vote in for c) above.

Definite cock.

Fran Hill said...

I'm intrigued to see what happens when English takes on Controlled Assessment next year. But me marking the pieces won't be any different from what we've been doing for years, which is that we mark them, and then they're moderated by the board. The same will happen with CA, I believe.

MCM said...

.... and Mosher, Old Fruit, looking at you, there is absolutely doubt in anyone's mind that you know all about cocks.

Anonymous said...

In othr European countires, dhe idea of centrally marked tests/exams is totally unherd of. It's done by the teachers, and it works.
In my shcool, we get masses of wrongly marked papers back. some of these people aren't even up to adding the marks together correctly.

EnglishTeacher365 said...

It's quite simple, really - Teacher A marks Teacher B's papers, and vice-versa. Then they both get together, compare marks, and sort the final grades out. All very civilised and gentlemanly, and there's not too much extra work involved.

Lilyofthefield said...

We have to internally moderate anyway before the stuff goes of to the board, but it doesn't stop us being very very generous with each other and the kids.
The sheer number of times the work comes in for "advice" and goes back out with a virtual rewrite must surely constitute cheating.

Anonymous said...

This article from the New York Times is relevant, I think:

Writer is an author who wrote a book about the US standardized testing, including his time as an $8/hour paid marker and the rather arbitrary way these 'standardized' tests were marked.

Anonymous said...

EnglishTeacher365, the same problem would still remain because teacher A and teacher B both want the marks to be as high as possible, don't they?

A fundemental rule in every other walk of life is that the person judging something has no vested interest in its outcome.