May 16, 2005
Examiners marking an English test taken by 600,000 14-year-olds have been told not to deduct marks for incorrect spelling on the main writing paper, worth nearly a third of the overall marks.
The rule, issued by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, means that pupils could spell every word wrongly in the most significant piece of writing that they are required to do and yet still receive full marks.
The Blair administration is desperate to raise exam scores this year: in 2004 it failed to achieve its target of a 75% pass-rate in English, despite a costly program aimed at improving high-school education. Take spelling out of the equation, and the target is easier to hit. This is not the first time the U.K. government has tried to fix exam results.
That aside, I blame Shakespeare. His spelling and grammar were way off.
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