Oddly Enough

Pupil gains marks for exam expletive

LONDON (Reuters) - A student who scribbled an expletive on an English language exam paper was awarded 7.5 percent for accurate spelling and effective communication, The Times newspaper reported on Monday.

The pupil, who wrote “f--- off” after being asked in an English exam to “describe the room you are sitting in”, got 2 marks out of 27 and would have got more if he had added some punctuation, chief examiner Peter Buckroyd told The Times.

“It does show some very basic skills we are looking for -- like conveying some meaning and some spelling,” said Buckroyd, who works for the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance examinations board. “It shows some nominal skills but no relevance to the task”.

“If it had had an exclamation mark it would have got a little bit more because it would have been showing a little bit of skill”.

According to The Times, to gain minimum marks in English GSCE papers -- an exam taken by hundreds of thousands of 16-year-olds across England every year -- pupils must demonstrate “some simple sequencing of ideas” and an ability to put “some words in appropriate order”.

Reporting by Kate Kelland. Editing by Keith Weir