Marking is not even the half of it 2

September 25, 2008

Your leader ("A case of considered judgment", 18 September) expresses surprise that nine out of ten markers of a first-year philosophy essay awarded a score of between 53 and 66, and found comfort in these marks. But surprise and comfort should be less abundant in view of the fact that most university essays receive a score between 50 and 70.

The tenth marker gave a score of zero because the essay was largely copied from a book by a university professor. It is surprising that such an eminent source should be marked between 53 and 68. It is not comforting that only one marker noted the plagiarism.

Taxpayers and students who pay for university teachers might find your exercise a rather surprising indictment of the skill of such teachers in research and assessment, but they perhaps can take comfort in the fact that they clearly have plenty of time for teaching.

Tom Winnifrith, Shipston on Stour, Warwickshire.

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