Scottish exam markers find errors in basic English

Markers have highlighted problems with basic English in this year's Standard Grades and Highers.

The Scottish Qualifications Authority has urged teachers to take account of mistakes which can undermine pupils.

Markers reported that Standard Grade candidates at all levels made wholehearted attempts to produce writing of a high standard.

Some work was "stylish and perceptive" but they also found some scripts hard to assess because of poor writing.

And they said they were also disappointed by course work containing text lifted from the internet and spelling mistakes caused by reliance on a computer spellchecker.

Markers also found candidates used commas and capital letters randomly and were uncertain about the correct use of tenses, apostrophes and paragraphs.

Minister for Learning Alasdair Allan said: "The vast majority of Scottish pupils do well in their exams, as can be seen by the record achievements in higher exams and the many positive points in these reports.

"Curriculum for Excellence puts a new focus on key skills including literacy and numeracy - making them the responsibility of every teacher - this will help ensure pupils are better equipped in these vital skills which unlock learning in other areas.

"We are also taking forward the literacy action plan which provides a further focus on equipping young people with the reading and writing skills they need for learning, life and work. Both of these will help further improve skills and tackle the issues raised in these reports."

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