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Marking guidelines

Marking procedures and publication of results

Marking Guidelines

All assessment processes, including marking and moderation, will be conducted anonymously unless the nature of the assessment makes this impossible.

All assessments will be marked by two markers, who will have been subject to a quality control test exercise and deemed acceptable by the Chief Examiner (or nominee). Neither will know the identity of the student, nor will they know the marks the other awards. This is known as blind marking.

All marking is completed against a marking scheme explaining where and how the marks are awarded. These are also included in the examiners’ reports, and published to the IFoA website after the results are released.

Prior to live marking all markers and the senior examination team sample mark a selection of candidate scripts. This allows the seniors examiner to quality assure the markers by checking their interpretation of the marking scheme and making sure their marking is aligned to reduce variation where possible. It also allows the senior examiners to test the marking scheme and identify if additional points should be added or changes made. At this point the senior team are once again assessing marker competency and ensuring a comprehensive marking scheme is available to support marking the exam.

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 accepted industry norm that a final mark may differ up to a total of 10 marks.

Moderation (Script Review)

After scripts have been double blind marked, a further moderation process, referred to here on in as the script review process, is instigated.  A candidate’s script will be subject to a further review by the senior examination team if one of the following criteria is met:

  1. Where the first and second mark 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.

Examples of the above criteria are shown at the end of this document.

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.

Script review is carried out by the Chief Examiner (or nominee) and will involve a full remark of the script. In some cases, at the discretion of the Chief Examiner, a script may receive a final 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, or nominee, have the discretion to review further scripts; this may be done to validate the pass mark or as part of quality control mechanisms

Scaling

In exceptional circumstances an adjustment is 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 the paper is significantly harder or easier than intended.

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.
  • A combination of first and second mark averages (where no third mark has been awarded as part of the script review process) and the third mark awarded to questions/parts of questions which have been remarked as part of the script review. For example, the mark for question 1 is the average of first and second marking, question 2 is the mark awarded following script review.
  • Script review marks only (in cases where the whole script has been remarked)
  • 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.

Examples of script review criteria for dual paper assessments

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

Exam Data - Subject Access Request (SAR) guidance

 

Publication of results

Every year over 15,000 candidates take their exams. To ensure we’re giving you the best possible service, all of this must be achieved within tight deadlines 5 weeks in advance. This gives the team time to prepare all the information that needs to be sent to candidates, set up the online examinations platform and the e-marking platform. This includes the accommodation of the arrangements for those that need adjustment of their exam conditions.

Marking and publication of results

Once an exam has taken place the completed exam scripts are transferred to the e-marking platform. The transfer of scripts takes place within 24/48 hours of the examinations taking place.

For each subject, a minimum of three scripts are selected to be a marker standardisation batch.  All examiners mark these scripts to define a set of definitive marks. They are then released to the markers.  Markers then mark these scripts and measure their own marking against the definitive marks before attending a marking meeting.  At the marking meeting the entire team get together to review their marking, and where necessary amend the marking schedules.  After this meeting, the examiners 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 examining team provide further support to the marker or in some cases the marker is removed from the process.  The standardisation process takes around two weeks to complete.

Once the live marking period has commenced each script is marked twice by separate markers, neither of whom knows how the other scored the paper.  Depending on the subject each marker can be marking between 60 and 240 scripts, and the whole process can take 4 to 6 weeks to complete. 

When each marker has completed their marking script review starts and the pass mark is agreed.  This will change each session, depending on the complexity of the paper, and the students’ overall performance. 

Once the pass mark has been decided then scripts which fall in the script review category, will be reviewed by a senior member of the examining team. Details of this process and the criteria that governs it can be found on our website. This process takes on average 15 days to complete.

Whilst all this is happening the Assessment team gather together all the mitigating circumstances reports and incident reports that have been submitted, ready for consideration by the Mitigating Panel.

8 or 9 weeks after the exams the initial exam results for all subjects are sent to Oxford for uploading into the database and are used to provide a variety of statistics.  10 weeks after the exams the Board of Examiners meet to discuss the results.  At this meeting the pass marks are agreed.  The Assessment team then finalises results in the database, make any final adjustments if necessary i.e. as a result of mitigating circumstances, produce the exam results letters, produce the qualifier eligibility list, and finalise any statistics.  In the meantime, the Chief Examiner will be working on the examiners’ report for publication on the website soon after the results are published.  12 weeks after the exams have been sat the results are released. 

Milestones

We’re proud to deliver a comprehensive, fair and high-quality programme of examinations to all IFoA students and learners. To get the best possible experience check out the key milestones below.

Timeline

1. One year before exams Exam dates agreed by the Education Education Committee.
2. Ten weeks before exam starts Entry opened by the Education Services team.
3. Seven weeks before exam starts Entry closes for students.
4. Four weeks before exam starts Examination and marking platforms are set
5. 24/48 hours after exams sat Scripts are transferred to the e-marking platform.
6. Two to seven weeks after exams sat Scripts marked (1st and 2nd) by Markers.
7. Six to eight weeks after exams sat Scripts marked (3rd). Pass mark set by the Lead/Chief Examiner.
8. Eight to nine weeks after exams sat Exam results sent to Oxford for processing by the Chief Examiner/Assessment team.
9. Ten weeks after exams sat Board of Examiners meets to agree exam mark/rate.
10. Twelve weeks after exams sat Exams released by the Assessment team.

 

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