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Speed isn't everything: a study of examination marking

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The question of whether marking speed is related to marking accuracy is important for training examiners and planning realistic marking schedules. We explored marking speed in the context of a past examination for an international biology qualification for 14- to 16-year-olds. Forty-two markers with differing backgrounds experimentally marked 23 diverse examination questions. All responded to questionnaires about times taken to mark two of four samples of candidate responses. We demonstrated a positive practice effect for inexperienced markers, who became significantly faster during the course of their marking whilst maintaining their accuracies; there was no clear trade-off between speed and accuracy. The benefits of marking practice and background experience are distinct phenomena. To improve accuracy, longer term investments in education and experience are needed.

Keywords: GCSE; examination marking; marking accuracy; marking speed; practice effect

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Cambridge Assessment, Cambridge, UK

Publication date: February 1, 2010

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