Saturday, 22 January 2011

Mark scheme mirth

It is customary to read about the amusing things that pupils write in exams, but sometimes the humour is from the exam board.

Thus Edexcel render twice as 'two times.' Two times what?

'This extract will be played two times.'

At the end of the GCSE Mock this week several boys wanted to check various answers and to avoid having to justify why I am right and they are wrong, even though that is manifestly always and without exception the case, for I am nothing if not an autocrat in my own classroom, I got out the helpful mark scheme. I do this with the syllabus too, treating it like a legal document or perhaps the rules of the game. This is a boys' school after all.

The mark scheme tells you what's right, what's wrong and for the whole of Section A has a column proclaiming, 'accept phonetic spelling.' So, once we'd established what the descending version of the Indian rag was and that no, it had not been transposed down a tone to avoid accidentals, it had been transposed to annoy people with perfect pitch, we then turned to answer, 'From which section of the piece does this music come?'

Answer, gat, helpful hint, 'Accept phonetic spelling.'
They thought that highly amusing.

Once, twice, thrice...

Next year IGCSE. Written for people abroad in standard English.

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