Why you must show students mark schemes – the secret success criteria


Following on from Ofqual’s implication via their survey that making students learn a mark scheme is ‘undermining qualification standards’ and gives them an ‘unfair advantage’ I’ve thought about how exam boards don’t help the situation. I believe that there are ‘hidden’ hurdles for students in exams. Until Ofqual insist that exam questions are marked fairly in relation to the question that is asked, teachers that care about students results, will look at mark schemes and in turn teach these to students. 


I teach with two exam boards. One for GCSE religious studies and one for AS/A2 Critical thinking. In both cases there are hidden success criteria that if unknown will limit student achievement.

For the GCSE one of the questions is always structured as follows:

Do you agree with/think that X?

Give two reasons for your point of view.

4 marks

Now you would think that if a student…

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