The Department for Education has announced plans to change GCSE exams and to start awarding marks for spelling, punctuation and grammar. Ministers have reported that it intends to overhaul the education marking system and award 5% of the scores in the exams for correct spelling and grammar. However, the plans have been blasted by experts, who warn that it will penalise dyslexic pupils.
Educationists and teachers’ unions have accused the Government of discrimination against dyslexic pupils and argue that the new rules will punish hundreds of thousands of students with a genuine spelling disability. They claim that it will make it even more difficult for them to reach their target grades.
The DfE assert that the change will help to equip young people better for the jobs market, which is already difficult with the present tough economic times and high unemployment rates. Ministers say that placing greater emphasis on spelling, punctuation and grammar in GCSE marking will help to prepare young people entering the workplace where they will be expected to communicate precisely and effectively.
Nevertheless, dyslexia groups are concerned at the lack of staff training available in schools to help pupils overcome their disadvantage. The Office of Examinations and Qualifications Regulation announced last month that in all GCSE courses starting in September this year, 5% of marks would be awarded for performance in spelling and grammar in the following subjects: English literature, History, Geography, and Religious Studies.
No special exceptions will be made from the latest marking regime, but all pupils with a statement of special educational needs can receive up to 25% extra time in exams. Experts also warn that students for whom English is not their primary language will suffer. The expert proofreading services at Oxbridge Editing can help to ensure that all work is 100% immaculate and free of errors.