Thursday, June 18, 2009

How do examiners mark exams?

Mary Beard

(Courtesy: TLS Online)

I wouldn't want to claim that exams are as bad for the markers as they are for the sitters. But the Cambridge Tripos is still a big investment of time and hard work for the dons. It's not just that you have to read each paper carefully (and I have spent more or less the whole of the last week on this, more than 12 hours a day). You have also to decide what principle of marking to adopt.

Put simply, if you are dealing with standard "essay" papers, you can either go question by question (that is mark all the answers to question one, then all the answers to question two and so on) -- or you can go candidate by candidate (that is, mark all the answers from candidate a, then move on to candidate b and so on).

The advantage of the former is that you can compare the answers more directly and see more easily which candidates have got new or more interesting material.

Link to the article

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