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Maharey misleads over NCEA re-marking

8 December 2005

Hon Bill English National Party Education Spokesman

Maharey misleads over NCEA re-marking

National's Education spokesman, Bill English, says Education Minister Steve Maharey has misled the public over the extent of the re-marking of this year's NCEA exam papers.

The NZQA's Monitoring and Marking Update, released today, claims that just eleven of the 335 NCEA standards have been re-marked, but Mr English says the number is likely to be considerably higher than that.

In Parliament today, he questioned Mr Maharey on an email he has received from a marker saying that 'check markers are hammered by the NZQA, and have to instruct markers to "tweak" results to ease more candidates up into the achieved category and/or, if necessary, massage the marking schedule to ensure more candidates can achieve'.

A further email from a 'check marker' to a group of markers asks them to go back over the papers of students who failed, to see if they can "push them up" to 'achieved'. It suggests that any sign at all of a student understanding the question is sufficient to change the grade.

The check marker says the re-marking is required because the number of 'not achieved' grades is too high.

The email refers to examinations not on NZQA's list of those that have been officially re-marked, and shows that re-marking has not followed the official process.

Mr English says concerns raised by this exam marker indicate there could be widespread, unofficial and secret re-marking that is not part of the official process as outlined by Steve Maharey last week.

"Clearly, the political pressure from Mr Maharey to ensure the NZQA gets the 'right' results is so great that NZQA is now heavying markers into passing students who would otherwise have failed, outside the official process.

"Steve Maharey must now come clean with the public and reveal the true extent of re-marking of NCEA exams, both official and unofficial," says Mr English.

ENDS

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