Vocational A-Levels Marked `Erratically'
Abrams, Fran, The Independent (London, England)
Vocational A-levels are often time-consuming and unreliable, and many teachers lack the skills and confidence to teach them properly, according to an Ofsted report due out today.
The latest criticism of General National Vocational Qualifications (GNVQs), introduced in 1991, will fuel fears that Sir Ron Dearing's planned reforms of 16 to 19-year-olds' education will have to be delayed.
Ofsted, the national schools inspection body, found that students' work was often marked inconsistently. Right-wingers have argued for years that the exams, which are both set and marked by teachers, are bound to lead to problems.
Although some improvements have been made since ministers announced plans to reform GNVQs two years ago, the report says marking is still inconsistent and that much of the teachers' training is irrelevant.
Inspectors who visited more than 60 sixth forms between autumn 1995 and spring 1996 found that teachers' marking of students' work was often erratic. Assessment, in which students compile portfolios of "evidence" of their skills under the teachers' guidance, was burdensome and unreliable, they said. Teachers frequently had to mark the same piece of work several times.
After marking, work is checked by a second teacher in the same school. …