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Marking Procedure for Written Papers (Category A subjects)
Appointment of markers: Applicants' academic qualifications, and teaching and marking experience are the key elements for consideration in the selection process. All markers are required to undertake rigorous training and to be qualified for marking. Each year, around 4 000 markers are recruited, most of whom are teachers.



Marking scheme: Prepared by the moderation committee, the marking scheme serves as a guide to markers on how marks should be awarded, taking into consideration the question requirements and the range of acceptable responses. Moderation committees, each comprising a Chief Examiner, a setter or co-setters, moderators and an HKEAA subject manager, are responsible for the development of question papers and marking schemes.

Marking schemes are not model answers. Answers not covered by the marking scheme could also score marks if they are relevant to the question and logically presented.



Sample scripts selection: After the examination, sample scripts covering different approaches of candidates’ responses and illustrating performance in relation to the level descriptors are selected. These samples provide useful material for standardising marking and for grading.



Standardisation meeting: The examiners compare marks awarded to the sample scripts, agree on marking principles and standards, and revise the marking scheme, where necessary, before the markers’ meeting.



Markers' meeting: The examiners brief markers on the assessment objectives and demands of individual questions. Some sample scripts are trial marked by markers to identify and rectify discrepancies in the interpretation of the marking scheme.



Allocation of scripts to markers:Candidates are assigned random candidate numbers by computer. Since the 2015 HKDSE, the written papers of all subjects have adopted onscreen marking (OSM) in which candidates’ scripts are randomly distributed to markers, with scripts from their students or close family members excluded in the distribution.Markers do not know the identity of the candidates.



Marking: Markers must demonstrate that they have mastered the marking standards before they can proceed to mark the scripts. For scripts that are double-marked, there will be two raw marks awarded independently by two different markers. If there is a big discrepancy between these two marks, a third marker will mark the script. A fourth marking will also be conducted if there is a continuing discrepancy, to ensure a fair assessment of the script. Normally, the closest, highest pair of marks is added up to form the raw mark for the script.



Checkmarking: The marked scripts of each marker undergo at least two stages of checkmarking by the examiners to ensure consistency and to spot problems of marking. If a script has been selected for checkmarking, the mark awarded by the checkmarker is also recorded and may override the raw mark if deemed more reliable.



Addition of marks: As scripts are marked onscreen, marks are automatically added up and checked by the computer system.

Points to Note

It should be noted that marking involves professional judgements and is not an exact science. Different markers may not award identical marks to the same answer, particularly for questions of an open-ended nature.Marks awarded by persons who have not been trained or standardised cannot be regarded as valid assessments of candidates’ performance.