Thursday, 26 June 2008

Test papers remain untouched

The TES reports that emergency full-time marking centres have been set up so examiners can work seven days a week to mark national tests taken by 11- and 14-year- olds. Two "marker panels" have been established in Leeds and Cheadle, near Manchester, where examiners are working eight-hour days to get the scripts marked.

Examiners were supposed to have finished all the marking by Monday for the key stage 3 tests, and by yesterday for KS2. But the National Assessment Agency (NAA) told The TES that more than a million of the papers were not listed as being marked on its systems on Monday. The revelations will place fresh pressure on ETS Europe, the American firm running the marking operation for the first time this year, amid complaints from scores of examiners that the administration has been a shambles.

More than 300 examiners have complained to the NAA about their experiences. Problems range from disorganised training to computer glitches and emails and phone calls not being returned.
Some markers were this week still waiting for papers to be collected from their homes, which they were unable to mark because the ETS computer system said they were not supposed to be marking them.

Some markers have been sent scripts for the wrong key stage. One teacher allowed The TES into her home to see her three unopened boxes of scripts, athough she feels unable to contact the schools involved and cannot be named because all markers have signed confidentiality contracts.
The KS2 maths marker received the boxes of KS3 science papers last Friday, completed by pupils at four schools. The boxes were still sitting in her kitchen this week because, she said, ETS had not replied to emails from her asking for them to be collected. The marker said: "Pupils and teachers are all eagerly awaiting their impending results. Little do they know the papers are sitting in my house."

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