Y6 Pupil Complains About Missing Commas
For the test, sat across England on Tuesday, pupils had to insert a correctly spelled word missing from a sentence. Question 6 read: "If there is not [blank] rainfall this month there will be a drought." Question 16 read: "As he was the [blank] of the tribe the final decision was his." The pupils protested that a comma was required after "month" in Q6 and "tribe" in Q16.
The result is mild embarrassment for the education department in the first year that the "Spag" (spelling, punctuation and grammar) tests for year 6 pupils have been conducted. The wording of the tests was approved by the Standards and Testing Agency, an executive agency of the Department for Education. A department spokesperson said: "The commas here are a matter of choice: they can be used to mark out clauses that appear at the beginning or the end of a sentence, but they are not necessary. We decided to use commas sometimes and not at others to make the tests more like real life where people will have their own styles." (My emphasis)