Saturday, 2 August 2008

Change in marking system causes results to fall

The Daily Mail writes that four in ten children are learning primary school this year without a basic grasp of the three Rs, results in SATs tests are expected to show.

Children's results are predicted to fall by up to two percentage points because of a change in the marking system. But the figures are certain to be contested by head teachers following a catalogue of administrative errors in marking and delivery of results.

Ministers expressed 'deep concern' yesterday that 18000 results in tests for 11-year-olds are still missing - but announced the publication of provisional national figures as planned on Tuesday.

They are expected to show that about 40% of children will move up to high school next month without the mastery of reading, writing and maths needed to cope with the curriculum. This year's results have been affected by a decision to scrap 'borderlining' where pupils who just missed a grade threshold had their scripts automatically reviewed.

An estimated 300000 pupils have benefitted from this since it was introduced in 1995 because they saw their scores upgraded. But children who just scrape over the borderline are not rechecked - meaning no students were ever marked down.

Official statisticians said the change is expected to cause a fall of up to two percentage points in the proportion of pupils achieving the expected level 4. English test results for 11-year-olds are expected to be affected the most, with the results falling back to the level of 2004.

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