Click here to register as a Markathon organiser or send an email to jb789 at cam.ac.uk .
To cope with a dramatic increase in the number of scripts we expect to mark at Advanced level, we’ve introduced a new activity (and word): the markathon. A markathon is an event in which a group of students collectively mark a large number of scripts under the supervision of one or more members of staff, who take(s) responsibility for coordination and quality control.
Here are the details of how a markathon will work:
- The marking must take place within a narrow window, which in 2015 will be during the week 9-13 February; schools will have scheduled their competition during the previous week, and will aim to send the scripts directly to ‘their’ dept by the 10th (unless they have negotiated a later date with the dept).
- A department agrees a number of participants. This agreement is binding, as selected schools will be told to post their scripts directly to the dept and no alternative marking arrangements can be made at the last minute.
- Based on figures from 2014, it’s reasonable for one person to mark about 4 scripts in an hour. We can usually assign between 100 and 250 scripts to each Markathon, although the final numbers will vary.
- We have provided here some examples of scanned and anonymised copies of marked scripts from last year, plus copies of the answers and marking scheme.
- One member of staff takes responsibility both for the arrangements (including collating marks and returning scripts) and for quality control of the marking.
- The contact member of staff is free to organise it within the dept in any way, but one scenario has a single time and place designated for a ‘Markathon’, so that students will be supported when marking and can consult the staff member or each other when uncertain; the dept may be moved to offer rewards (chocolates, pizzas, music, etc.) during and after the Markathon, and may be able to offer administrative help with handling the scripts and marks. UKLO can provide certificates of thanks for volunteer students and/or depts, and will publish all names on the UKLO website.
- UKLO will provide an electronic copy of the test paper some days before the scripts arrive, so the paper can be distributed in advance (without answers) to the volunteer markers. The marking session can start with a discussion of the questions and answers.
- UKLO also provides a full set of answers together with a detailed marking scheme to standardise marking practices. The marking will be almost mechanical, but typically there are one or two questions where some judgement is needed.
- The contact member of staff will arrange for all marks to be entered (by question and candidate) to spreadsheets provided by the school, and pass these to the UKLO central organiser.
- The dept will keep all the scripts while the finalists are selected, and send scans of any selected scripts to the central marking panel; once the selection process is completed, the dept will return all marked scripts to schools, using the SAE provided by the school.
- The dept’s help will be acknowledged on the UKLO website.
And we especially welcome any markathon photos you may have!