September 2010
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Time for a single exam board?

Having read yet another post on a forum in which teachers share stories of inexplicable results and comapring wxperiences between boards, is it not now time to have just one exam board? Not only would loads of money be saved trying to gain spurious consistency, but think of how the quality of papers, and marking would go up if the money saved could be invested in quality professionals. I have very good reason to belive that the massive range of topics for AS A2 modules in the new exam has embarrassed some exam boards who have not managed to find specialist markers. I’m sure that is what lies at the heart of the anomalous marking. People are marking who haven’t taught the module before, ever. They stick to a markscheme that rewards adherence to its dubious hierarchy of answers rather than genuine historical understanding. If parents of students who failed to get to university because of a low grade in history knew this, there would be outrage.

Now that exam boards are big business, the problems will get worse rather than better if we don’t do something about it . How long can we allow students who have been given unconditional places at Cambridge to be awarded a B grade by a marker who ought to know better? Discuss.

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