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Minister reassures students on biology exam

5 December 2005

Minister reassures students on biology exam

Education Minister Steve Maharey has reassured students that the NCEA system is working and that there is no cause for concern around this year's biology exam.

"In the case of the Biology exam there has been a routine adjustment made to the marking schedule after looking at a test batch of scripts," Steve Maharey. "The process has not been stopped and the papers have not been reassessed.

"It is very important people understand that issues will arise around NCEA. What is also important is that NZQA is dealing with these issues quickly and as part of the system.

"It is worth reiterating the eight key steps of the marking process, which were introduced following a State Services Commission Report in July this year:

1. The examiner writes a draft marking schedule for the paper
2. The chief marker marks a number of “test scripts”
3. Adjustments may be made if the marking schedule is not clear enough, not comprehensive enough, or too specific
4. Markers are then trained using the adjusted marking schedule
5. A further batch of papers are marked and checked
6. The marking schedule can then be altered if necessary
7. Marking proceeds
8. If the pattern of results is unexpected marking can be halted and adjustments made to the marking schedule

These are exactly the steps that are being followed for the Biology and English papers on which there has been recent media comment.”

Steve Maharey said critics of the NCEA should heed National MP Bill English's advice given on National Radio, and let students get on with their exams without constantly trying to undermine their confidence.

Excerpt from interview, Morning Report 8 November 2005:

ROBINSON: Okay. So given that you don’t want to undermine confidence in the system at this moment you just make your point, do you, and wait for next year to take it up with them

ENGLISH: Yes I think that’s right and we need to next year have a very thorough discussion about what they’re doing.


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