In this blog we’re going to help you get up to speed with the holistic level of response marking approach for the A and AS Level Economics.
The AS H060 and A Level H460 Economics assessments all have level of response questions, ranging from the 8 mark to 25 mark questions.
We’re going to share with you the information we use to help assessors determine which mark is most appropriate for the answer being considered. This is also why our mark schemes for these questions are split into levels.
... are split, as appropriate, between the assessment objectives of knowledge and understanding (AO1), application (AO2), analysis (AO3) and evaluation (A04).
Within each level there is a descriptor to determine the quality of the response which would be expected to be within an answer to meet the requirements for the top of that level.
Assessors mark these levels of response questions holistically. This means that they do not divide marks between the criteria but instead consider how the criteria contribute to the quality as a whole.
To do this, assessors need to determine how strong they believe the answer is in reference to the candidate’s knowledge and understanding, the analysis within the response and the evaluation in the response (as appropriate for the question).
... used in the levels of response section of the mark scheme help assessors determine the strength of the response. The descriptors range from ‘Limited’ to ‘Strong’ and are explained at the beginning of each mark scheme for assessors to refer back to. The explanations of the descriptors for each assessment objective are shown in the table below:
How marks are allocated
When deciding on the mark to be given, the assessor determines what descriptor fits the response for knowledge and understanding, analysis and evaluation (as appropriate). The levels of response mark schemes make it very clear what descriptors are within each level – the descriptors given describe what is required to reach the top of the level.
For example, the following table lists the level of response descriptors against each assessment objective for the H460 25 mark questions in components 01 and 02:
In the simplest cases the response meets exactly the descriptors for a level. For example, if a response was determined to have ‘good’ knowledge and understanding, ‘reasonable’ analysis and ‘reasonable’ evaluation then it would consistently meet the criteria for Level 2 and would achieve 10 marks.
Where the response does not fit so neatly with the wording there is a table at the beginning of the mark scheme which indicates how marks should be awarded when there is inconsistency with how the criteria are met within a level.
...if we have a similar scenario as before but determine that the evaluation is not quite the quality needed for a ‘reasonable’ descriptor to be judged appropriate, then the combination of ‘good’ knowledge and understanding, ‘reasonable’ analysis and ‘limited’ evaluation would achieve 8 or 9 marks as the response would meet most of the criteria but with some inconsistencies (or potentially just slight inconsistency).
In another response, there could be a very different standard of analysis compared to evaluation in the response.
There could be ‘good’ knowledge and understanding, ‘strong’ analysis and ‘limited’ evaluation for example. Because this mark scheme is holistically marked this can still achieve a mark in Level 3 – even though the ‘limited evaluation’ is a level 1 descriptor.
A balance needs to be found between the ‘strong’ analysis and the ‘limited’ evaluation to determine what the mark should be. In this case the candidates could still score in the top half of Level 3 based on our holistic marking approach.
...Just in case you aren’t aware of this already, the examiner reports and exemplar commentaries are also a great source of information about how to fine-tune your approach to marking so that it’s in line with our standardised approach. If you haven’t done so, please also check CPD courses and free materials of past training events for this qualification on our CPD Hub. And of course becoming an examiner for our A Level Economics will really help you to internalise it. Please keep checking our current vacancies.
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If you have any immediate queries regarding our Economics and Business qualifications, then please email our Subject Advisors Debbie or Elisabeth at either firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call our Customer Support Centre 01223 553 998.
Dr Elisabeth Ring, OCR Business & Economics Subject Advisor