Marking Principles behind GCE 'O' level papers

Updated: Dec 1, 2019

When marking students' scripts for GCE 'O' levels, there are general marking principles for the examiners. Here are six common ones below.

Marking principle #1:

Marks are awarded in line with

  • the specific content of the mark scheme or the level descriptors for the question

  • the specific skills defined in the mark scheme or in the level descriptors for the question

  • the standard of response required by a student from the standardisation of scripts among examiners.


Marking principle #2:

  • Marks awarded are always whole marks, i.e. no half (fraction) marks.


Marking principle #3:

Marks must be awarded positively for / when:

  • correct or valid answers, as defined in the mark scheme.

  • valid answers which are beyond the scope of the syllabus and mark scheme.

  • students clearly demonstrate what they know and can do.

Spelling, punctuation and grammar are only judged when the mark scheme indicates so. Nevertheless, the meaning of the students' answer should not be ambiguous.


Marking principle #4:

Rules must be applied consistently e.g. in situations where students have not followed instructions or in the application of level descriptors.


Marking principle #5:

Marks are awarded using a range of marks defined in the mark scheme for the question.

The marks awarded are also based on the quality of a student's answer.


Marking principle #6:

Marks are awarded solely on the requirements as defined in the mark scheme.

Marks should not be pegged with cohort performance.

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