At this time of the year, DP teachers across the world busy themselves marking papers.

This year I am marking online for the very first time. I admit to having felt a degree of apprehension since I am rather unfamiliar with the SCORIS program I am using.

To help with that I was given practice papers before starting the standardization. I am a seasoned examiner but felt the pressure of coming to terms with the software and the knowledge that if I did not record the agreed score with that of  the principle examiner who had pre-marked the scripts, I would get another 5 copies to mark with the inevitable possibility that further failure, and I would be out.

Unfamiliarity with the program and my growing anxiety, led to me making  silly mistakes. Sure enough, along came the next 5 standardization scripts. My anxiety grew as I feared the worse and the change in exam marking format  led me to begin to dislike the whole thing. Fortunatley my marking was in line with that of the principle examiner and with relief I downloaded my first 20 “real” scripts.

Besides the standardization process, there are also what are called seeded scripts. These are interspersed within the allocation and have also been pre-marked. So for example, I will mark ten “real” scripts and then one seeded one. My scores for the seeded script are then compared with the pre-marked scores and I get a report to show how my marking aligns with the principle examiner. Serious deviation and I am frozen out of the system until the relevant issues are addressed.

So as I marked my “real” scripts I kept submitting two or three at a time and checking for the report to see if I had hit the seeded paper.

Slowly, very slowly, however, I began to remember that actually, I am not a bad marker. In fact I think I am quite a good one. My speed increased, my efficiency increased, my comfort level increased and slowly my anxiety decreased. And I did hit my first seeded script, I did see the report and I was not too bad if I do say so myself…

I may have marked only 18 scripts and have 132 still to do but I am beginning to think that this is quite a good process. I have no paper to lug around, no time to spend uploading all my scores twice (for verification) and actually, those seeded scripts are there to help me make sure I do a good job. They are not there to catch me out for doing a sloppy one.

So, hopefully, my next blog will be about how I managed to meet my June 17 deadline. Will be close, but I think I can do it.