How Teachers Mark Your Essays
To mark your composition, teachers will look at four areas: Conventions, Form, Style, and Meaning. Each of these is worth 25% of your total score on any composition.
The teachers assign a mark for each area in the same order as given above (C, F, S, M).
Briefly, the four areas are defined as follows:
Conventions: These are the basic parts of your writing: the spelling, punctuation, grammar, and sentence structure. Teachers look for the number of errors made and, more importantly, to see if these errors make it hard to understand your writing.
Form: This is the order of your writing and how easy it is to follow your ideas. In an essay, for example, teachers examine how well your introduction, body, and conclusion work together and how logical your order of ideas is inside each paragraph. (See class notes with tips for good essays)
Style: Here, your sentence variety and knowledge of idiom and vocabulary are very important. How fluent is your language? Are your sentences precise? To excel, a student needs a good repertoire of sentence types, along with a strong vocabulary. (View the Advanced Composition Worksheet Archive)
Meaning: Teachers look here for signs of your developing voice in writing. The more individual (meaning your ideas are specific to your own experience and you have conveyed them well) the better. Are your ideas convincing? Are they mature? Originality counts here. Remember the rule: Show, Don't Tell! (Worksheet on Show, Don't Tell)
Composition Marking Scale
NOTE: Off topic essays are awarded DNP (did not pass)
The owner of one of England's three major exam boards is to introduce artificial intelligence-based automated marking of English exam essays in the UK from next month.
Pearson, the American-based parent company of Edexcel, is to use computers to "read" and assess essays for international English tests in a move that has fuelled speculation that GCSEs and A-levels will be next.
All three exam boards are now investing heavily in e-assessment but none has yet perfected a form of marking essays using computers – or "robots" – that it is willing to use in mainstream exams. Academics and leaders in the teaching profession said that using machines to mark papers would create a "disaster waiting to happen".
The Times Educational Supplement (TES) reports today that the Pearson Test of English Academic, an English-language exam, will launch on 26 October. It includes essay questions and will be used in 20 countries, including the UK, to rate applicants' English skills before they are admitted to university.
Computers have been programmed to scan the papers, recognise the possible right responses and tot up the marks. Pearson claims this will be more accurate than human marking.
John Bangs, head of education at the National Union of Teachers, said that computers could be useful in many areas of assessment but cautioned against their use in English exams: "I'm very concerned that it would constrain the nature of the questions being asked. You won't pick up nuances by machine and it will trigger a trend to answering narrower questions. It could be a disaster waiting to happen."
A Pearson spokesman told the TES that its system produced the accuracy of human markers while eliminating human elements such as tiredness and subjectivity.
Other exam boards said the adoption of computers to mark beyond their current use in multiple choice tests was inevitable. Tim Oates, director of research for Cambridge Assessment, which owns the exam board OCR, said: "It's extremely unlikely that automated systems will not be deployed extensively in educational assessment. The uncertainty is 'when' not 'if'. But all systems need to meet exacting quality criteria and should definitely not be adopted just to make life easier for testing organisations.
"Some approaches look like technology in search of a test, rather than assessment designed to accurately report attainment."
An Edexcel spokesperson said that the board was not planning to use automated marking in mainstream exams such as A-levels and GCSEs. She said that previous trials of the technology in GCSE essay questions had not been expanded.