Students who write obscenities in their GCSE English exams can still be awarded marks, a chief examiner has admitted.
One pupil, who wrote “f*** off” on an examination paper, was given two points for spelling it correctly, and conveying a meaning.
It was marked by Peter Buckroyd, a chief examiner for the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance (AQA) examination board.
He said: “It would be wicked to give it zero, because it does show some very basic skills we are looking for – like conveying meaning and spelling. It’s better than someone who doesn’t write anything. It shows more skills than somebody who leaves the page blank.”
Mr Buckroyd, who acknowledged the language was inappropriate, gave the pupil two out of 27.
He said he used the example to teach other examiners about the finer points of marking.
Mr Buckroyd is said to have recently told trainee examiners they should stick to the marking scheme, and should award points to pupils who only write obscenities on papers
The expletive was reportedly given in answer to the question: “Describe the room you’re sitting in,” part of a 2006 GCSE exam. But the student missed out on marks because the phrase was not punctuated. Mr Buckroyd said: “If it had got an exclamation mark it could have got a little bit more.”