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EDITIONS
 Wednesday, 22 January, 2003, 07:13 GMT
Making the grade online
Pupils sitting exams
Performance in exams may be linked to teachers
The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) is putting its marking instructions for Higher exams on the internet.

Until now this information has always been confidential.

The move follows claims that some pupils have been getting better Highers results because their teachers are markers and have inside knowledge of the system.

Those teachers are not allowed to mark their own pupils' papers - nor do they know the answers in advance - but they do know what kinds of answers will get the best marks.

Exam certificate
Teachers have pressed for greater openness
The knowledge of exam technique can inform their own teaching - but they are not allowed to pass it on to colleagues who do not volunteer to mark.

A Newsnight Scotland investigation found that parents who want their children to get better grades should try to make sure their teachers are exam markers.

Teachers' leaders have been pressing for greater openness about the process.

The SQA responded by making some information available to all teachers.

Now it has gone further by publishing the marking instructions for the biggest Higher exam - English - on its website.

Pilot scheme

It is open to parents and pupils as well as teachers and forms part of a pilot scheme to train new markers online.

If it is judged a success the idea could be extended to all of the National Qualifications subjects.

The SQA's director of qualifications, Anton Colella, said the new policy of transparency should mean all pupils will be able to perform better in their Highers and Standard Grades.

"The beneficiaries of our openness and our transparency about how awards are made, how papers were constructed, how they were marked - it benefits candidates."

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  ON THIS STORY
  BBC Scotland's Kenneth Macdonald
"It's been common knowledge among teachers for years"
See also:

13 Aug 02 | Scotland
29 Nov 01 | Scotland
13 Sep 01 | Scotland
14 Aug 01 | Scotland
14 Aug 01 | Scotland
22 Nov 99 | Education
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