Getting Inside Internal Verification

Well, exam season is nearly upon us. Good grief.

For those knowledgeable of the Scottish Qualifications Agency "Higher Still" system you will know that this means that we have ploughed through NABS, end of unit assessments, suffered resits and tantrums and, most solemnlyof all, completed the "Internal Verification" process.

This is of course something of a fabrication: IV consists of a couple of folk with a couple of carefully selected student scripts nodding through each other's marking... Borderline passes and outright fails can be covered up - just so long as we manage to get the bums on seats for the final exam, everyone is happy... And so it should be.

Many students, particularly FE college students, only just manage to "get their heads together" in time for the exams -old fashioned cramming, panic, adrenaline rushes and hysterical teariness is de rigeur- concepts solidify, terminology becomes meaningful, essay style becomes fluent. A student you wouldn't have given a hope in hell's chance as little as a month ago suddenly develops focus, concentration and style: in short, a year's worth of work pays off.

And so, I don't feel too bad about the "flexibility" of the Internal Verification system. I'm sure some people would be appalled by the abuse of the system, and decry the falling standards in education today. I take heart however from the students gaining passes at the last chance, going on to university courses and employment, getting out of poverty, gaining self respect and self esteem. Sometimes just being given a chance is all people need.