August 24, 2012 · 11:25 am
Congratulations to all my GCSE English Language and English literature pupils who have all got good grades this summer. From the news it appears that nationwide there have been some nasty surprises for some pupils with tougher marking for GCSEs – particularly in English.
While there is an argument that a tightening up has been long overdue, it does seem to me to be singularly unfair to do it mid way through the course for many pupils. It is claimed that marking in January, for example, was less stringent than that of this summer. As discussed in earlier posts, the difference between grades can be substantial in terms of effects on university entrance and career prospects. There is no doubt in my mind that many pupils who have received a D this year would have received a C. As regards my own pupils, some who received a C for English Language would almost certainly have achieved a B in previous years. Is that fair when they are competing for university places with people who were marked under a less demanding regime?
Results so far;
English A level 1x B
English Lit GCSE 2 x A, 2 x B
English Lang GCSE 2 x A, 2 x C
July 13, 2011 · 11:45 am
Are you one of those people who despairs when seeing signs in the market for tomato’s or tomatoe’s? Do you feel outrage when you read a sentence such as – warning wild animal, don’t touch it’s cage!
If you haven’t already discovered it, let me recommend the very witty book Eats,Shoots and Leaves – think about that title for a minute! The book makes the case for accurate punctuation in a humourous manner and the author envisages all sorts of vicious punishments for those who fail to correctly position their apostrophes or commas.
Many schools over recent years have taken a fairly laissez-faire attitude towards punctuation, not bothering to mark mistakes, and just concentrating on content. However, the ability to write accurately – and that includes punctuation and spelling – are often vital in conveying correct information. There are dozens of examples in the book showing how, often, exactly the opposite meaning from that intended is the result when the punctuation is incorrect or simply missing.
More recently examination boards have started to award marks for spelling and punctuation once more – rather a shock for many pupils who have never had the basics rules explained to them. Indeed my pupils have sometimes been rather overwhelmed by the amount of red on their essays as I always mark for punctuation and spelling as well as content.
So is punctuation really that important?
Look again at the title of this post. It could be a matter of life and death to Bill!