A new study has suggested that teachers give the highest marks to pupils they like. It was also shown that neat handwriting can affect performance in written tests.
The research, which was carried out by the National Centre for Social Research on behalf of the Department of Education, looked at the marks given to essays written by pupils aged 11. The marking by 2000 teachers was examined by external markers. It was found that ten per cent of the essays had been marked too highly by the teachers, with five per cent receiving a mark that was judged to be lower than deserved.
The external examiners felt that teachers were marking according to how well-liked their pupils were. It was also found that neatly-written pieces were awarded higher marks than more badly-presented work.
The results of this research are interesting for anyone involved in publishing in a business capacity, as they serve as a reminder of the unseen factors that can affect readers’ impressions of an article. For example, anyone looking for regular readers or subscribers to features like RSS news feeds will have to produce content that is genuinely liked by the reader.
Relationships with customers are no less important online than offline, but online relationship-building relies heavily on the written word. Popular social media pages, blogs and websites have much in common with the pupils who gave the best performance in this study as they all pay attention to presentation and to striking the right note with their readers.