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Marking and publication of results

Marking procedures and publication of results

Introduction

All assessment processes, including marking and moderation, will be conducted anonymously.

All answer scripts will be marked by two markers, who will have demonstrated that their marking meets expected standards and will have been deemed acceptable by the Chief Examiner (or nominee) before marking candidate answer scripts. Markers will not know the identity of the candidate, nor will they know the marks the other awarded. This is known as double-blind marking.

All marking is completed against a marking schedule explaining where and how the marks are awarded. These are also included in the Examiners’ reports and published on the IFoA website after the results are released.

All marking is conducted on an e-marking platform.

Standardisation Process

Once an exam has taken place the completed answer scripts are transferred to the e-marking platform.

For each subject, a minimum of three scripts are selected for the first stage of the standardisation process. The senior examining team mark these scripts to define a set of definitive marks. They are then released to the markers. Markers then mark these scripts and compare their own marking against the definitive marks before attending a marking meeting. 

At the marking meeting all members of the team come together to review the first stage of the standardisation marking, and where necessary amend the marking schedule. 

After this meeting, the senior examining team set definitive marks for a further three scripts. Markers have to mark these scripts to demonstrate they are marking within expected standards. In some cases, markers will be prevented from starting live marking if they are too far away from the definitive marks. In these cases, the senior examining team provide further support to the marker, or in some cases, the marker is removed from the process. 

Marking and Moderation (Script review)

During the live marking, the quality of the marking is also assessed to ensure it continues to be within expected standards.

Due to the nature of many assessments, it is accepted that markers may disagree about the mark awarded for a question – this is not an error.  It is an accepted industry norm that a final mark may differ up to a total of 10 marks.

During the marking process, the pass mark will be agreed by the Chief Examiner. The pass mark may change each session based on different factors, such as the complexity of the paper. Once the pass mark has been decided, scripts, which meet the script review criteria, will be reviewed by a senior member of the examining team. This review consists of a full remark of the script.

A candidate’s script will be subject to a further review if one of the following criteria is met:

  1. Where the first and second marks awarded lie either side of the pass mark
  2. Where the first and second mark awarded is equal to the pass mark
  3. Where the first and second marks are both fails but the average of the two marks is within 2 marks of the pass mark.

Examinations made up of two papers, will follow alternative criteria for script review. It should be noted that dual paper assessments will have a single pass mark for the combined components, however, each component may not carry an equal weighting.

Dual paper weighting is defined as:

  • CM/CS ‘A’ Papers – 70%
  • CM/CS ‘B’ Papers – 30%
  • CP Paper 1 – 50%
  • CP Paper 2 – 50%

The criteria for script review for all dual paper assessments is defined as:

  1. Those where the “highest” mark is equal to or above the pass mark and the “lowest” is below it.
  2. Those where the “highest” and “lowest” marks are equal to the pass mark.
  3. Those where the “highest” and “lowest” marks are both fails but the combined average is within 2 marks of the pass mark.

For each candidate, the “lowest” total mark for the overall exam shall be calculated by combining the lower of the first and second marks for each part of the exam.

For each candidate, the “highest” total mark shall be calculated by combining the higher of first and second marks for each part of the exam.

In some cases, at the discretion of the Chief Examiner, a script may receive an additional review, which means that some scripts may be marked up to a maximum of four times. There are also occasions where a script is reviewed even if it does not fall within the script review criteria. The Chief Examiner has the discretion to review further scripts; this may be done to validate the pass mark or as part of quality control mechanisms.

Examples of script review criteria for dual paper assessments

1. 50:50 weighting for CP1 and CP2

Criteria A

  Marker 1 Marker 2 Pass Mark 60
Paper 1 62 58 Highest Mark 62 + 64 = 126/2 = 63
Paper 2 64 57 Lowest Mark 58 + 57 = 115/2 = 57.5

Criteria B

  Marker 1 Marker 2 Pass Mark 60
Paper 1 61 61 Highest Mark 61 + 59 = 120 /2 = 60
Paper 2 59 59 Lowest Mark 61 + 59 = 120/2 = 60

Criteria C

  Marker 1 Marker 2 Pass Mark 60
Paper 1 60 58 Highest Mark 60 + 58 = 118/2 = 59
Paper 2 58 57 Lowest Mark 58 + 57 = 115/2 = 57.5
      Average 59 + 57.5 = 116.5/2 = 58.25

2. 70:30 Weighting for CS and CM assessments

Criteria A

  Marker 1 Marker 2 Pass Mark 60
Paper 1 60 55.5 Highest Mark 60 x 0.7 + 68  x 0.3 = 62.4
Paper 2 60 68 Lowest Mark 55.5 x 0.7 + 60 x 0.3 = 56.85

Criteria B

  Marker 1 Marker 2 Pass Mark 60
Paper 1 60 60 Highest Mark 60 x 0.7 + 60 x 0.3 = 60
Paper 2 60 60 Lowest Mark 60 x 0.7 + 60 x 0.3 = 60

Criteria C

  Marker 1 Marker 2 Pass Mark 60
Paper 1 60 60 Highest Mark 60 x 0.7 + 55 x 0.3 = 58.5
Paper 2 53 55 Lowest Mark 60 x 0.7 + 53 x 0.3 = 57.9
      Average 58.5 + 57.9 = 116.4/2 = 58.2

Scaling

In exceptional circumstances, the Board of Examiners will make the decision to apply an adjustment to the whole cohort so the marks better reflect the achievements of the candidates sitting the assessment. For instance, scaling may be needed where an error or ambiguity in an assessment question is discovered or the paper is significantly harder or easier than intended. When this happens it may result in either an upward or downward adjustment being made to the pass mark and to the final marks awarded to the candidates.

Final Mark

The final mark will be calculated as follows:

  • The average of the first and second marks only, where no additional marking has taken place as part of the script review process.
  • Script review marks only
  • Final script review marks only.

For dual paper assessments, the final mark is determined by the weighting of the paper. For example, in an assessment with a 70:30 weighting the final mark is 70% of paper 1 plus 30% of paper 2.

The final mark reported to candidates will be a whole number from 0 to 100.  When marking, the markers may award a 0.5 mark, and due to this in many cases, the average of first and second marks, before rounding, can include 0.25 marks. In all cases where the final mark is not a whole number, the final mark reported to candidates is rounded down to the next lower whole number.

Results

The IFoA now provides all students and non-member students with the breakdown of the marking for their exam.

The following guidance is provided to answer frequently asked questions. This guidance should be read in conjunction with the:

How do I get my exam results letter?

Your exam results letter will be available in your member’s account on the website, on the day the results are released. The results dates are given on the Exam Dates page of the website.

How do I get my exam result breakdown?

Your exam result breakdown will be available within 24 hours of the results being released. It will be available in your member’s account area on the website:

  • Log in to ‘My Account
  • Click on ‘My Exams’
  • Click on ‘Exam result letters’.
  • Under the ‘Exam result breakdown’ header click the link to the breakdown of the marks

How to read your exam result breakdown

Questions

A list of the question and question part numbers in the exam paper.

Available marks:

The marks available for each question/question part.

Marker 1:

The individual marks awarded by the first marker.

Marker 2:

The individual marks awarded by the second marker.

Script review:

These column(s) will be present if your script has been reviewed and a re-mark has taken place. There could be more than one script review column if the script was reviewed more than once.

Final marks:

The column contains the final marks for your script.

Board of Examiner Decision

The words “Board of Examiner decision” will appear below the breakdown of marks if the Board of Examiners decided to apply scaling. Scaling is an adjustment applied to the whole cohort so the marks better reflect the achievements of the candidates sitting the assessment. For instance, scaling may be needed where an error or ambiguity in an assessment question is discovered, or if the paper is significantly harder or easier than intended. When this happens it may result in either an upward or downward adjustment being made to the pass mark and to the final marks awarded to the candidates. You can find more information in the Examiners’ Report.

Mitigating circumstances

Mitigating Circumstances: ‘Y’ will appear below the breakdown of marks if the Mitigating Circumstances Panel made the decision to adjust your final mark. You can find more information about this in the Mitigating Circumstances Policy.

How long is the exam results breakdown available for?

As outlined in the Examinations Data Retention Policy, the marks for individual questions are disposed of sixteen weeks after the publication of results. If you wish to keep a permanent copy of your exam result breakdown you must download this from My Account.

Where can I find the final mark and grade for my exam?

The final mark and grade is available in your exam results letter. This can be accessed through your member’s account on the website. The final mark and grade will be retained indefinitely.

What is the pass mark for my exam?

The pass mark for the exam can be found at the bottom of the breakdown of marks. You can also refer to the Examiners’ Report for more information about the exam paper.

I applied for mitigating circumstances to be considered but do not have a mitigating circumstances indicator on my exam result breakdown

Applications made by candidates who had already obtained a pass during the marking process will not be reviewed by the Panel.

If your final mark was within 3 marks of the pass mark your application would have been reviewed by the Mitigating Circumstances Panel.

The Panel would have decided whether your final mark should have been brought up to the pass mark or not.

  • You will have a mitigating circumstance indicator if your final mark was adjusted by the Panel.
  • You will not have a mitigating circumstance indicator if your final mark was not adjusted by the Panel.

You will receive an email within 5 working days of the results being released to confirm whether your final mark was adjusted or not.

Who completes a script review?

Script review is completed by either a senior examiner or the Chief Examiner.

The senior examiners and the Chief Examiner are involved in the setting of the exam paper and oversee the marking of the paper. As such they are in a position to review scripts and decide whether the marks awarded by the 1st and 2nd markers are an accurate representation of your performance.

Why was my script not script reviewed?

A script may not be identified for review if it does not fall within the script review criteria.

Why did the script reviewer agree with the average marks of the 1st and 2nd markers?

Marks awarded by the 1st and 2nd markers are reviewed as part of a script review. There are a number of quality control mechanisms in place to ensure the accuracy of the marking and as such the reviewer is likely to agree with the average of the marks awarded. If they determine that a mark that has been awarded is not appropriate they will remark the question or question part concerned.

Why has my script been reviewed when it did not meet any of the criteria for script review/Why was my script reviewed more than once?

In some cases, at the discretion of the Chief Examiner, a script may receive an additional review. In these instances, a script may be marked up to a maximum of four times.

On occasion, a script may be reviewed even if it does not fall within the marking guideline criteria. The Chief Examiner has the discretion to review further scripts; this may be done to validate the pass mark or as part of quality control mechanisms

Why is there a large difference between the 1st marker and the 2nd marker?

There may be differences in the marks awarded by the 1st and 2nd markers as scripts are marked independently and the two markers do not know what the other has awarded.

Due to the nature of many assessments, it is accepted that markers may disagree about the mark awarded for a question. It is an accepted industry norm that a final mark may differ up to a total of 10 marks. As questions become more complex they also become more subjective to judgment. Lower levels of agreement may be a result of legitimate differences in opinion between equally qualified markers. These complex questions are an important aspect of the IFoA examinations and essential in assessing the specific knowledge and skills required.

The IFoA marking guidelines have been developed with the understanding that there can be differences in the marks awarded, and for this reason, there are strict review parameters that dictate which candidate scripts require further review by a senior examiner.

There are very few instances where the final mark differs by more than 10 marks. This is because the IFoA implements a number of marker quality initiatives.

What should I do if I think there has been an error in the marking of my paper?

All candidates who take the IFoA assessments have the right to appeal against an exam result if they have reasonable grounds to do so.

You may make an appeal on the following grounds:

  • Irregular procedure or improper conduct of an assessment.
  • Extenuating personal circumstances which affected your assessment which you could not reasonably disclose under the Mitigating Circumstances Policy

If you wish to make an appeal you need to complete a Stage one application within 40 days of the release of the exam results.

For more information, please see the Assessment Appeals Policy and Procedures

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