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Exam results farce . . . again

by: Romany Howes (13 August 2015)

It's that time of year when students are looking forward to receiving their exam results, with a due sense of dread and fear. And yet again, the system is beset with controversy. According to the Telegraph, "thousands of students are expected to receive incorrect A-level results this week after the Government's regulator said an exam board "lacked understanding" of marking.

The problem seems to be that exam boards are "guesstimating" grades, instead of taking the time to mark the papers correctly. Therefore, schools are now being urged to encourage their pupils who are disappointed with their results to challenge the grades given. In fact, this year's results are expected to lead to thousands of successful appeals and Ofqual, the exam regulator, has itself raised concerns, forecasting a record number of appeals. Since 2008, successful appeals have risen by thousands every year.

This follows on from the farcical situation last year, when the The Oxford, Cambridge and RSA (OCR) exam board was the subject of an investigation by Ofqual, when there was a delay in marking because of IT problems. "OCR met the Ucas deadline - seven days before results day itself - despite having nearly a million extra scripts to mark electronically."

Is the problem: marking electronically? Years of experience in the proofreading industry have proved that manually checking is always the most effective way to check a written document. Here at WriteItClearly.com, we have proofreading programmes and software which we use as a supplement after our manual checks. Under no circumstances can these electronic programmes be used in isolation as an effective checking method.

Thousands of 17 and 18-year-olds will be planning their futures this week based on their results. Let's hope that the people marking papers get it right and check them properly, thoroughly and manually before using electronic marking as a back-up!

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