Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Written Exam

A "HOW TO" Guide for the Gymnasium's A-Level English Written Exam:

Step 1- Choose a day that you (the country) will give this exam--country-wide.

Step 2- When that day arrives, instruct each school to gather all A-level English students in the gym at their local campus. 

Step 3- Administer PART ONE of the exam (in ONE hour). This usually consists of 4 parts, including various grammar tasks and a translation.

Step 4- Administer PART TWO of the exam (in FOUR hours). This part has 2 texts (1 fiction and 1 non-fiction) that the students can choose between. They read and analyze one of the texts and then write a 700-1000 word essay which responds to a given prompt.

Step 5- Gather up all the exams (Parts 1 & 2) and mail them to "EXTERNAL CENSOR #1" which they have been assigned for grading by the ministry. (Note: I am playing the role of "Censor #1" for 3 different schools in Denmark.) 

Step 6- Send the students home so they can begin preparing for all their other exams while these are being graded. 

Step 7- Censor 1 grades both parts of the exams that she has received. (The average rate is grading 2-3 full exams per hour.) As she grades, she does not write on the actual exam; rather she creates a cover page for each exam that she saves for Step 10. She assigns a grade to each exam, but again, does NOT write that grade on the exam. 

Step 8- As she finishes one school's exams, Censor 1 packs them up and mails them to one of her Censor 2s (but she does not send the cover pages that she created and she does not include the grades that she personally gave each student.)

Step 9- Censor 1 becomes Censor 2 as she receives another set of exams from various other Censor 1s. She then goes through the same process outlined in Step 7.  (I am also playing the role of "Censor 2" for 3 schools in Denmark, so all in all, I am grading exams for 6 different schools.)

Step 10- All the Censor 2s must have their exams graded before June 15, when EVERY SINGLE CENSOR meets in Odense. As a Censor, I have 3 different partners from other schools-- each partner and I shared 2 sets of exams that we both graded.

Step 11- Censor 1 meets with Partner 1, compares grades and discusses any points of disagreement, both referring to their cover sheets they made in Step 7 for those 2 classes. 

Step 12- Censor 1 meets with Partner 2 and repeats process in Step 11.

Step 13- Censor 1 meets with Partner 3 and repeats process in Step 11. This means that EVERY set of exams is graded by two different A-level English teachers who must agree on each and every grade. 

Step 14- Censors sign off on the Grade Sheets for the classes they were assigned. Grades are released back to the schools and then to the students. 

Step 15- Students (all over Denmark) rejoice about their grades and prepare for graduation! 

Sounds simple enough, huh?! 

All I can say is that this process ensures me, as a teacher, about the authentic and equitable way that we assess a student's written ability! I love it!


Anonymous said...

Sounds exhausting though for the censors...

Garkbit said...

I have a bad feeling that somewhere there's a "government adviser" wondering how much money can be saved by contracting this entire process out to the lowest bidder.

HOLMES said...

Sounds like IB!

PiNG aka Patti said...

I love this way of grading the exams - it really does remove any remote possibility that someone is graded unfairly by a particular teacher, etc.