In an article in the Telegraph, 02/06/13, Hayley Dixon reports on the letter sent from HMC and GSA heads to the Sunday Times saying they have lost confidence in the marking of exams.
The head teachers of the country's leading private schools, including Eton and Marlborough, say they have lost confidence in the marking of exams.
In an open letter the school leaders claim they feel a “duty” to make pupils and parents aware that there are widespread problems with the marking and grading of exams across England in a range of subjects.
They have harboured the concerns for years, they say, and getting the top grades depends on the exam board responsible.
Their comments come less than a year after thousands of students received lower-than-expected grades in GCSE English.
They were allowed to re-sit and the teachers union launched High Court action, but public confidence in the process was dented.
“We believe we have a duty to make the public aware at this time that problems in the marking and grading of public exams do not affect only one subject, or one level of exam, or schools belonging to a particular sector,” they wrote.
“For several years we have been worried about the robustness of the "examinations industry" in England. We have concerns about erratic examiners and unexplained swings in results. There are also concerns that it is easier to get top grades with some boards than others.”
The letter, printed in the Sunday Times, was signed by Christopher Ray, chairman of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference (HMC), which represents more than 250 fee-paying schools.
Tony Little, from Eton College; Jonathan Leigh, of Marlborough College; Emma McKendrick, from Downe House School; Tim Hands, from Magdalen College School and Anthony Seldon, from Wellington College, added their names to the 13 signatures.
The fact that as many as 100 papers per school are upgraded on appeal show the “unacceptable levels of inaccuracy”, they complained, adding that it can cost students their University place.
Later this week, Ofqual, the regulator, plans to release research to reassure teachers that marking can be trusted.
But as we enter the exam season the heads said they are not sure the problems have been “addressed with sufficient speed, let alone resolved”.
Click here to read the article © The Telegraph.