Marking Scheme

Most exam papers you find here on Edukamer will come with another type labelled as “Marking Scheme” So, What is a marking Scheme? Check below for the short and straightforward definition.

A marking scheme is a plan or guidelines used in the marking of school children’s or students’ written work by teaching staff. That is it guides those who are in charge of correcting examination papers on how to allocate marks to students.

It will usually indicate what is expected of students for each and every question asked during an examination.

So, be it an assignment or an examination, making a good marking scheme can surely help you save time with you have to correct or mark a pile of scripts. Below we have some recommended guidelines on how to come out with a good marking scheme;

  1. write a model answer for each question, if the subject matter permits. This can be a useful first step towards identifying the mark-bearing ingredients of a good answer. It also helps you see when what you thought was going to be a 30-minute question turns out to take an hour! If you have difficulties answering the questions, the chances are that your students will too! Making model answers and marking schemes for coursework assignments can give you good practice for writing exam schemes.
  2. make each decision as straightforward as possible. Try to allocate each mark so that it is associated with something that is either present or absent, or right or wrong, in students’ answers.
  3. aim to make your marking scheme usable by a non-expert in the subject. This can help your marking schemes be useful resources for students themselves, perhaps in next year’s programme.
  4. aim to make it so that anyone can mark given answers, and agree on the scores within a mark or two. It is best to involve colleagues in your piloting of first-draft marking schemes. They will soon help you to identify areas where the marking criteria may need clarifying or tightening up.
  5. allow for ‘consequential’ marks. For example, when a candidate makes an early mistake, but then proceeds correctly thereafter (especially in problems and calculations), allow for some marks to be given for the ensuing correct steps even when the final answer is quite wrong.
  6. pilot your marking scheme by showing it to others. It’s worth even showing marking schemes to people who are not closely associated with your subject area. If they can’t see exactly what you’re looking for, it may be that the scheme is not yet sufficiently self-explanatory. Extra detail you add at this stage may help you to clarify your own thinking, and will certainly assist fellow markers.
  7. look at what others have done in the past. If it’s your first time writing a marking scheme, looking at other people’s ways of doing them will help you to focus your efforts. The UCPPD/Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in HE team can refer you to references on assessment which can offer guidance and examples.
  8. learn from your own mistakes. No marking scheme is perfect. When you start applying it to a pile of scripts, you will soon start adjusting it. Keep a note of any difficulties you experience in adhering to your scheme, and take account of these next time you have to make one.


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