Thursday, 17 July 2008

Marking discrepancies

A headmistress is demanding her pupils' SATs papers be re-marked after an exam paper littered with grammatical mistakes scored higher than a literate, fluently written one.
Janis Burdin, head of Moss Side Primary School in Chorley, Lancashire released two examples - by Child A and Child B - which had both been awarded a Level 4. But Child A received one more mark overall - despite woeful literacy.

Mick Brookes, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said his union had received an 'unprecedented' numbers of calls from members unhappy with the grades they were getting back.
In the Moss Side Primary School discrepancy, Child A wrote:
If he wasent doing enthing els heel help his uncle Herry at the funfair during the day. And had stoody at nigh.
Becoues he invented a lot of new rides he won a prize. He didn’t live with his mum he lived with his wife.

Child B wrote:
Quickly, it became apparent that Pip was a fantastic rider: a complete natural. But it was his love of horses that led to a tragic accident. An accident that would change his life forever. At the age of 7, he was training for a local competition when his horse, Mandy, swerved sideways unexpectedly, throwing Pip on to the ground, paralysed.
Both 11-year-olds were awarded five marks out of a possible eight for sentence structure. Child A received eight marks out of 12 for composition and effect, while child B received seven.

Headmistress Janis Burdin has labelled the marking of SATs 'absolutely off the radar' and 'pathetic'. Mrs Burdin said: 'These two papers were both given Level 4. I would have given one a 5 and one a 3. These are the most extreme differences but there are many more discrepancies. 'The marking, especially for the writing exams, is absolutely off the radar. The whole thing seems random. I would have expected a third of our pupils to get Level 5 but only one did. We've spent hours looking at this wondering what to do. From what I've heard, the training of the markers has been unsatisfactory. We got our papers back last week but we are not releasing the writing exam results - the children would be mortified if they saw what they got. In 2003 we got re-marks on all the English papers and eight grades were changed. This time it's worse. It's absolutely pathetic. I can't tell you how cross I am.'
Mrs Burdin added, 'It has been an absolute fiasco from day one. The new system is all online yet it went down straight away after the first exam on May 12 and when every school in the country rang the helpline - that crashed too.'
She added: 'I will pursue this until they are sent back and re-marked. The children and staff work really hard and we rise and fall by our SATs - it is the first thing that an Ofsted inspection looks at.'

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