This year I am marking SL paper 2. The marking is carried out online and whilst I have marked for the IB previously, this is the first time I have marked online papers for them.

I thought it may be of some use to you to explain how the marking process works ….

Firstly, each school will send the exam papers to the IB (in the past they were sent straight to the examiner). Once the IB has the papers they are scanned.

Examiners are able to access scanned papers to mark online using ‘ticks’ and crosses’ or a variety of stamps, such as ‘ECF’ or ‘BOD’ so in this respect the marking is exactly the same as it is when ‘real’ papers were marked by hand. Examiners can choose to mark the entire script (my preferred way) or question by question.

This is not the end of the process though. In order to be allowed to mark ‘live’ student responses there are two processes that the examiner must go through.

The first process is the ‘familiarisation’ process. Three scripts are available for the examiner to mark. Once a mark is entered, feedback on how the chief examiner scored the question is instantly received. This allows the examiner to check that they have understood the mark-scheme correctly.

After familiarisation there is ‘standardisation’. Here, the examiner marks five scripts and submits their marks. The scripts have been pre-marked and the marks are agreed upon. The examiner cannot see these pre-agreed marks until the end of the process. Immediately after submission, feedback is recieved as to wether the examiner is ‘in’ or ‘outside’ tolerance for the marking of the papers.

If the examiner is in tolerance, they are free to start marking. If they are out of tolerance the need to mark a second standardisation set. If they are out of tolerance again they are not able to mark for this session.

Once marking has started, every 10 or so scripts are ‘seeded’  – this means they are pre-marked. The examiner does not know if a script is seeded or not but a ‘seed’ has an agreed total. If the examiner is out of tolerance for the seed they are stopped marking and contacted by a more senior examiner to explain where they have gone wrong.

The process does seem good and is geared to minimising marking mistakes, mistakes that were maybe not identified when marking by hand.

Plus, it is much better for the environment as hundreds of exam papers are not being sent around the globe (as much! :mrgreen: )