From the time that an exam script is written in May until it is retired on the 15 September, it passes through many readings along the way.
Preparation for Marking
After the students take an examination, the script seems to vanish into the ‘unknown’ until the diploma results are made known at the beginning of July. Well, at least unknown to students and teachers. Actually, scripts as soon as they are taken are sent to a center where they are scanned and made available to examiners for marking in RM Assessor. The following video gives a general overview of RM Assessor.
Before marking can being a selection of scripts are marked by a senior team of examiners and made available as practice scripts, qualifying scripts and as quality control scripts called ‘seeds’. These pre-marked scripts or ‘seeds’ periodically surface to be marked to ensure that examiners are consistent in their marking.
Marking of Scripts
All of the scripts then are then made available for marking online in RM Assessor. In a matter of a few weeks all of the scripts are marked by a team of examiners. Each examiner reads the script on-screen and the marks and annotation for the marking is saved. It is important that the handwriting is legible and the responses to the questions appear in a logical sequence on the exam.
After all of the scripts for a subject are marked, a Grade Award meeting is held. During this process the boundaries of the marks for each examination paper are determined on the basis of how well the responses on various scripts match the grade descriptions. There are a considerable number of marked scripts that are read during this process in order to determine the actual grade boundaries i.e. grade boundary for 7, 6, 5, … etc.
During the Grade Award process ‘at-risk’ scripts or those scripts that fall near the boundaries are re-marked to ensure that they have been marked correctly.
Enquiry Upon Results (EUR)
After the marks are released at the beginning of July, schools, parents and students can request a remark of a script through the IB Coordinator. A grade can be raised, lowered or stay the same as a result of the Enquiry Upon Results process.
After 15 September, for May session schools, no further EUR requests can be made. A script is essentially ‘dead’ and the examination session is done.
Lifetime of a Script
So the question is ‘how many times can a script be read?’ Consider the stages in the process: first marked by examiners during Standardizing or during actual marking, read by a team during Grade Award and boundary setting, re-marked by a senior examiner as an ‘at-risk’ script, and remarked upon EUR request – some scripts may only be marked once, but others even more than 4 times before the session is over.
Why so many times is a script read? To ensure that students actually receive the marks that they deserve.