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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 15 August, 2000, 17:02 GMT 18:02 UK
No-name marking to counter racism
a-level candidates
Candidates' names might reveal ethnic origin
Some A-level exam scripts in England have been marked anonymously this year for the first time, in a pilot scheme to counter any potential racial discrimination.

Also for the first time, all examiners did not know the names of any of the schools or colleges whose pupils' scripts they were marking.

The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, which oversees examinations in England, said the removal of names was an experiment to avoid discrimination on the basis of students' ethnic backgrounds.

The authority's senior manager, Dennis Oppos, said it was responding to the report of the Stephen Lawrence inquiry, which demanded greater awareness of discrimination.

"In the context of the Macpherson report we think it's particularly important that, if possible, examiners will not know the ethnic origins of candidates so that that couldn't possibly affect the way they mark," he said.

"It's a system that's been in place for a number of years now in Northern Ireland, and we're hoping that it'll be introduced in the near future in England."

Asking to see scripts

The pilot scheme involved one part of the English paper issued by two of the three examining bodies - the authority is not saying which.

The blanket withholding of school names from examiners was designed to overcome concerns that certain types of school could be discriminated against by teachers marking scripts.

Private schools in particular have been worried about this - although no case has ever been proven.

Candidates are due to receive their A-level results on Thursday.

For the first time, they can request copies of their marked scripts if they are disappointed by the grades they have been given.

In pilots last year there was little interest among candidates in seeing their marked papers, so it was decided that moves to return scripts to all pupils would not be worth the cost.


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19 Feb 99 | UK Education
25 Mar 99 | Stephen Lawrence
02 Apr 99 | UK Education
30 Nov 99 | UK Education
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