Over the past two years we’ve been working hard to move all the marking of our externally assessed units in A Level History and GCSE History online.
But what exactly is online marking? Which units are online and which aren’t? How does the process of online marking work?
I hope I can answer some of those queries here for you. We will have completed this move to online marking by this summer, so this means the coming examination series; June 2015 will be the first to have all its externally assessed units marked online.
Online marketing will be beneficial to teachers and students alike. So what are the key advantages?
1. Marking monitoring is continuous
Examiners will have pre-marked scripts dropped into their randomised marking allocation so that their team leader can check that they are reliably applying the standard set by the Principal Examiner. If the examiner is applying the standard, they continue marking until the next pre-marked script. On top of this, by giving examiners random script allocations, rather than having one examiner mark an entire centre, we can monitor all of their live marking as well as checking their standard against pre-marked scripts.
It is because of this higher level of marking visibility with online marking that it is easier for us to identify any problems in the application of the mark scheme and act quickly to resolve any issues.
2. Results data can be analysed
Our FREE Active Results service enables you to look at the data applicable to your centre’s results including, breakdown of marks per question for each of your candidate, average marks against the national cohort per paper and per question, and more.
Active Results is also a great analytical tool, that can help you identify patterns and events across the results for your centre – for instance, do you candidates typically do better on purpose of source questions rather than message of source questions – which can help inform your teaching.
Active Results is available on Interchange. If you do not know your Interchange login details, please ask your Exams Officer.
So how does this affect our new History qualifications?
Our new A level History A (first teaching September 2015) and our new GCSEs (first teaching September 2016) will all be marked online. The important change we made in the development of these new qualifications is to produce bespoke question papers that will only include the options that you have entered for.
We made this decision because this will affect the marking a number of positive ways:
1. Rubric errors will be reduced
Rubric errors occur when candidates answer either the wrong section in the examination paper or answer all of the questions on the paper. At present, if candidates do answer all of the questions on the examination paper, we mark all of their responses and will award them the highest total mark that is available. For instance:
Candidate A taking GCSE History B Modern World is taught the core section ‘The Cold War 1945-1975′.
When sitting the exam, the candidate answers two of the core sections, ‘The Cold War 1945-1975′ getting a total of 17 marks, and ‘A New World 1948-2005′ getting a total of 19 marks.
We would mark both sections and the final mark that would count towards their grade would be 19 marks, because it is the higher mark of the two.
2. As a result of the above, candidates will find it easier to navigate question papers as there will not be complicated rubrics to follow
3. We will be able to recruit the right assessors for the right options
As each option will have its own individual paper, assessors will be able to sign up to mark only the areas that they are familiar with and that they teach.
This is going to impact on A Level especially; where in the past assessors may have had to mark essays on a range of topics; now they will be able to specify the area that they would like to mark on.
This will not only improve the reliability of marking, but will also help to make examiners more comfortable in marking and encourage the sign up of new examiners.
4. We will save paper
As we will only be supplying you with papers for the options that you have signed up for, we will save a large amount of paper. This will help OCR meet its targets as a sustainable not-for-profit organisation.
Clare Trevatt - Subject Specialist - History
Clare has worked at OCR for a few years now, first working on Religious Studies and then moving across to work on History qualifications. Her degree is in History, with emphasis on modern non-European and medieval British history. Clare has previously worked for the Department of Education, in the funding and contract management of providers delivering provision up to Level 2. In her spare time Clare likes to read anything and everything, play with her dogs and spend time on the Norfolk coast.