Almost two-thirds of teachers allow children to get away with using slang expressions in tests, a survey has found. Staff are increasingly accepting of slang and text-message speak in the classroom and do not even always mark children down when it creeps into exams.
Teachers report that it is now widely used in lessons, essays and coursework, including phrases such as innit, wicked, phat, gr8 and well bad.
One said the worst example of slang he had ever come across was 'Hitler was majorly bad'.
But only a quarter of staff believe the use of slang in an exam should always count against students. Sixty per cent sometimes allow it, depending on context.
The survey, conducted by Teachers TV, showed that even questions on Shakespeare are not immune from slang treatment.
Essay answers included the phrases 'Macbeth couldn't be arsed...', 'Macbeth, he is well wicked' , 'Romeo was a numpty, wasn't he?' and 'Macbeth was pure mental'.
But teachers report that their biggest headache is text language. One pupil wrote in a piece of work 'I noe u dnt noee mii, I donno huu u r', which translates as 'I know you do not know me, I don't know who you are'. Another student wrote "ma m8s wnt ova" - my mates went over.
One respondent said: 'Pupils had forgotten how to write as they spent so much time texting.'
Another remarked: 'L8 should be on a mobile, not in an essay for GCSE. They don't know when and when not to use it.'
A third said: 'I see "u" for you and "dat" for that. Actually I've even seen these in third year degree assignments sadly.'
Fifty-nine per cent of survey respondents said they usually understood children's meaning.
More than three quarters know 'vanilla checkers' is slang for 'boring clothes', more than half know that 'klingon' means a younger sibling and nearly half say they know that 'phat' means 'great'.
Almost a third acknowledge to pupils that they understand their slang while 22 per cent pretend they don't know what children are saying.
Andrew Bethell, chief executive of Teachers TV, said: 'Pupils are increasingly communicating through colloquial language in the classroom, with some teachers accepting this as the norm.'
The poll has highlighted that in some cases this choice of language allows pupils to be expressive.
'However the correct use of grammar is vital if education standards are to be maintained and improved.'
The poll also revealed that more than half - 55 per cent - of teachers believe grammar standards are worsening and only nine per cent believe they are improving.
A chief examiner for the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance exam board caused a storm this summer when it emerged he gave a pupil marks for writing 'f*** off' in a GCSE English exam.
The student was given two points by Peter Buckroyd for spelling the expletive correctly and conveying a meaning.
The pupil had written the obscenity in response to the instruction: 'Describe the room you're sitting in'. (By Laura Clark Last updated at 8:24 PM on 12th December 2008)