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igcse - CIE's arrogance and ignorance! Spender poem mauled!

Discussion in 'English' started by kervin, May 21, 2017.

  1. kervin

    kervin New commenter

    In CIE's outrageously overpriced anthology for IGCSE Literature, they have misprinted or revised Spender's 'My parents...', changing 'stripped' to 'tripped', 'another' to 'the other' and 'our world' to 'the world'. They obviously object to polysyndeton as well, and seem to have taken umbrage at the poet's punctuation. I mean - obviously Spender had no idea what he wanted to say, and the board know better. OK, mistakes happen, but when contacted to bluff with 'we are aware that there are other published versions' (such as the one the poet wrote) and that they have 'informed markers not to penalise candidates who refer to these' is outrageous. Who the hell do they think they are?
    Alternatively, they could have said 'Sorry - bad ****-up on proof reading front, won't happen again, the poem won't appear in the paper'. But no - like an 'alternative truth' they merely deign to acknowledge that there may be 'other' versions. This isn't middle English, or even a Quarto / Folio dispute - it's a blinking 20th century poem, for which they have paid copyright. Last straw from them - their marking is appalling, resources poor, procedures ridiculous, website a disaster. We're going elsewhere for our igcse next year.
  2. jarndyce

    jarndyce Occasional commenter

    Oh dear!

    Last Year's Y11 were our last CIE Lit cohort; this year is our last CIE Language. Good riddance to them, and good luck to you.
    Mrsmumbles likes this.
  3. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    It is a truth universally acknowledged that CIE sucks. At least they didn't print chapter 6 instead of chapter 7 for their Jekyll and Hyde exam paper and trigger a colossally overreactive student Twitter Rant. We can allow them this morsel...
  4. JaneBennet

    JaneBennet New commenter

    Yep, we got the same response as kervin when we queried it. And feel the same way. I only just manage to resist sending them the easily accessible YouTube clip of Spender reading the poem himself with exquisitely clear enunciation of - what, err, his *interpretation* of his own poem?

    I don't know how they get away with it.

    Edited to change keratin (spellcheck) to kervin. See, CIE? It's really easy to proofread.

    Or maybe I'm in the wrong, and should follow their example by asserting that keratin is a recognised alternative version of kervin.

    Because I say so.

  5. roamingteacher

    roamingteacher Established commenter Forum guide

    As we are not the publisher of these anthologies, but have stipulated them as set texts in our syllabuses, our stance has always been to make examiners aware of the variations so that no candidate is penalised for writing about the poem as it appears elsewhere, and that the poem will be printed on the question paper as it appears in the anthology as this is what Centres will have purchased – we cannot comment on the behalf of CUP as to what is an error in their publication and what isn’t. We have also compiled a list of the textual differences reported to us by Centres which have been sent to CUP and which we understand they will be checking for possible correction in subsequent editions.

    Ultimately Cambridge University Press secured copyright permission to print the poems in the form in which they appear in the question paper, so we aren’t in a position to confirm whether any difference reported to us by a Centre is the result of typesetter error, or the result of the poet revisiting the poem within their lifetime – which does happen, and specifically is the cause of textual differences present in a Brontë poem also published in the anthology.

    What is more, as an international examining body were we to publish an errata to the poem we would not be able to guarantee that all of our Centres around the world, in areas where communication is often challenging, would be able to be reliably informed of the change. Our approach ensures that no candidates is penalised.
    Kind regards

    James Sanders
    Senior Customer Service Advisor

    Cambridge International Examinations
    1 Hills Road, Cambridge, CB1 2EU, United Kingdom
    Tel: +44 (0)1223 553554
    Fax : +44 (0)1223 553558
    E-mail: info@cie.org.uk

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