Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Exam Marking Demystified

It’s a fact of life: examiners for your precious and important work are expected to mark about 350 papers over the course of about a month. The exam boards estimate that this will take about 87 hours (4 papers per hour); however, examiners are paid by the paper, so it’s in their best interest to mark faster.
Five-Minute Treatment
Think about it: the exam that you sweated over, stressed about, and prepared for is passing through an examiner’s hands in 15 minutes. For the reading paper, that’s 3 questions’ worth of work, giving the examiner a total of 5 minutes’ concentrated effort per answer.

But wait: that’s not all!
Starting this year, the English language papers are going to be marked in on-line form, rather than in paper form. Personally, I dread to think of this, because studies have shown that people are able to read much less carefully when something is on-line than when it’s in paper form (see the book called The Shallows by Nicholas Carr about this).

How you can do your best
I think these two factors mean that students need to be very careful this year to write neatly, set things out clearly, and be precise. I also think that, should your expectations be totally dashed on results day, you might consider it prudent to ask for a re-mark.
I’m sure exam boards will shudder at the thought, but let’s be honest: it may be their money and time, but it’s your life they’re playing with. Fifteen minutes of it was all an examiner can give you — make it easy for them so that your answers stand out on the screen.

No comments:

Post a Comment