How Many Questions In The Math Placement Test In Nova Marking of Test Instruments – Creating Comparability Between Classes

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Marking of Test Instruments – Creating Comparability Between Classes

During my first year as Head of Maths, a couple of older members of my staff felt that some of the less experienced maths teachers were marking the assessment items ‘easy’, giving their students better grades than the that they should receive. This posed problems for students competing for university places, especially in the type after colleges. The better the grade obtained in Mathematics, the greater the chances of entering the subject after the courses.

To solve the problem, I established a procedure that teachers had to follow to give credence to the idea that the grading of assessment tasks was consistent across classes. Each level course or Mathematics subject had a unit coordinator who was responsible for writing the assessment tasks and organizing their grading. The coordinator was in charge of implementing the following procedure.

The procedure was as follows:

  • Each unit coordinator would provide teachers with a detailed grading scheme/grading criteria.

  • This marking scheme was mandatory to all the staff.

  • If any issues arise, the unit coordinator was to issue a new detailed marking scheme taking into account the new solutions/alternative approaches. (Problem solving/critical thinking/higher order thinking questions often led to alternative solutions).

  • The markings of the parties must be respected, as indicated.

  • Students may solve the problem in a different way or use a different approach. If it is correct and does not contravene any indication, the full mark should be given.

  • The grading of exam tests would be divided into several parts with a teacher marking a part of each student’s test. This would create consistency in the grading of each part of the exam.

  • For tasks such as homework, one person would mark the assessment tasks of all students in the cohort. This type of marking would be distributed among the staff throughout the year.

  • Where criteria have been used to assess assignments, teachers need only rate those criteria.

  • Criteria for problem solving/critical thinking/higher order thinking questions, written on the assessment task, should be general in nature. The criteria to be used should only be included in the marking scheme given to the teacher marking the item(s). Specific criteria printed in the assessment task can lead students to a solution.

  • Each coordinator must ensure that copies of the final versions of the grading scheme/criteria with the assessment tasks are stored in the official files.

  • Any incidents should be reported to the Head of Department as soon as possible so that they can be resolved so that the marking can be completed quickly.

This procedure was printed in the staff handbook. When the procedure began to be used, it actually reduced the correctional workload for teachers. Grading one section of each student’s exam was much faster than marking all of your students’ questions. The teacher had to remember less. Fewer pages were turned, and teachers were able to spot errors quickly and recognize workarounds easily. The remedial teacher could pass on information to his colleagues about areas that were misunderstood and that needed to be reviewed in class. Teachers quickly adopted the system.

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