The tips on helping students who fail exams (Teaching, THES, July 9) coincided nicely with the ritual posting of pass lists, a widespread denial mechanism against the reality of failure. The advice was spot-on, especially about the emotional subtext that may sabotage judgements. Such warnings apply to work-based assessment where enforcing baseline standards can be even more problematic. Assessors need better support to cope with students performing at borderline and fail level. It is a risk-management strategy, protecting against appeals and educational malpractice.
Irene Ilott Group head: R&D, College of Occupational Therapists, London SE1