A British high school student has received partial credit for writing nothing but a two-word expletive on an exam paper because the phrase expressed meaning and was spelled correctly. How hard can it be to spell fuck you?
The Times newspaper quotes examiner Peter Buckroyd as saying he gave the student two points out of a possible 27 for the English paper. Buckroyd told the Times that it “would be wicked to give it zero because it does show some very basic skills we are looking for, like conveying some meaning and some spelling.”
Buckroyd says the student would have received a higher mark if the phrase had been punctuated, in this case an exclamation point would have done well. Buckroyd is a senior examiner for the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance, one of several bodies that grade British high school exams. The alliance confirms the story is accurate, but says Buckroyd’s decision to award the student marks is not official policy.
“The example cited was unique in the experience of the senior examiner concerned and was used in a pre-training session to emphasize the importance of adhering to the mark scheme: i.e. if a candidate makes any sort of response to a question then it must be at least given consideration to be awarded a mark,” the alliance said in a statement.
But it added that obscenities on exam papers “should either be disregarded, or action will be taken against the candidate, depending on the seriousness of the case.” Since the actual mark was something like 2 out of 27 I am not sure why this is such big news, but it sure is weird.