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Mark schemes in maths: is it true that...

(26 Posts)
letsgomaths Thu 15-May-14 18:58:43

when exam papers are marked, that the examiner first looks to see if the answer is right; and if so, gives full marks?

And that they only look at the candidate's working in detail if the final answer is wrong, and they need to see where else they can award marks, or if the mark scheme specifies that a certain part of working is needed?

When an examiner has hundreds of papers to mark, do they take the view that it's unlikely to get the right answer by fluke, so they only look in detail at the working without a correct final answer?

WhereAreMyGlasses Thu 15-May-14 19:04:50

I don't know the 'right' answer but I never wrote any workings out (because I did it all on my calculator) and rarely dropped marks

GiraffesAndButterflies Thu 15-May-14 19:07:12

It depends on whether it's GCSE or a level, and on the exact wording of the question. Sorry that's not very helpful!

letsgomaths Thu 15-May-14 19:25:22

I'm thinking with A-level in particular. Certainly with "show that..." questions, the working would need to be examined, but I'm thinking with questions where there is clearly only one right answer, such as:

"Find the co-ordinates of the minimum point, 6 marks."

Lots of working is obviously needed, but I do wonder if the examiner simply looks for the right answer at the end, and if it's there, takes the working for granted.

jenniferturkington Thu 15-May-14 19:25:49

That is true for KS2 Sats yes. If the answer is correct full marks are given. If the answer is incorrect but there is certain evidence of understanding within the working out the iris sometimes possible to get a mark.

AtiaoftheJulii Thu 15-May-14 19:42:14

Edexcel Maths A level mark scheme: "Unless indicated in the mark scheme a correct answer with no working should gain full marks for that part of the question."

For GCSE, Edexcel don't state it as baldly, but do say "Examiners should always award full marks if deserved, i.e if the answer matches the mark scheme" and are very clear that all possible marks that can be given should be given. I have always taken it that UNLESS it says "show your working" that the correct answer alone will get full marks.

I've been looking at those two this week - assume the other boards are similar.

MirandaWest Thu 15-May-14 19:48:57

My mum and dad both mark A Level maths papers - will ask them and see what they say smile

AtiaoftheJulii Thu 15-May-14 19:52:06

AQA A level mark scheme:
"No Method Shown

Where the question specifically requires a particular method to be used, we must usually see evidence of use
of this method for any marks to be awarded.

Where the answer can be reasonably obtained without showing working and it is very unlikely that the
correct answer can be obtained by using an incorrect method, we must award full marks. However, the
obvious penalty to candidates showing no working is that incorrect answers, however close, earn no marks.

Where a question asks the candidate to state or write down a result, no method need be shown for full marks.

Where the permitted calculator has functions which reasonably allow the solution of the question directly,
the correct answer without working earns full marks, unless it is given to less than the degree of accuracy
accepted in the mark scheme, when it gains no marks.

Otherwise we require evidence of a correct method for any marks to be awarded"

AtiaoftheJulii Thu 15-May-14 19:54:06

AQA GCSE mark scheme:
"A Accuracy marks are awarded when following on from a correct
method. It is not necessary to always see the method. This can be

Questions which ask candidates to show working
Instructions on marking will be given but usually marks are not awarded to candidates who show no working.

Questions which do not ask candidates to show working
As a general principle, a correct response is awarded full marks. "

AtiaoftheJulii Thu 15-May-14 19:55:01

So Edexcel and AQA are slightly different for A level, but same for GCSE. If you want OCR, you'll have to look it up yourself smile

marcopront Sun 18-May-14 08:01:30

Why are you asking?

It is rare to get the correct answer by fluke, but if you get the wrong answer your working is checked.

I am a Maths teacher, I don't mark external exams, but when marking tests I look at the answer if it is correct I glance at the working, if it is wrong I look at it carefully.

sunshinecity17 Sun 18-May-14 11:09:11

At GCSE no working is needed, at a level it is.

AtiaoftheJulii Sun 18-May-14 11:20:09

sunshine, look at the quotations from the mark schemes that I cut and pasted above!

circular Sun 18-May-14 11:24:33

DD1 taking OCR AS levrel maths and was told they get full marks for correct answer - unless it asks for a particular method to be used, then you need to show you have used it.
She does show working but often skips steps, or it is fairly illegible.
IMO always good practise to show as much working as you can so if you do slip up, minimal marks lost.

What does puzzle me is when they slip up in the first part part of a question and tar an incorrect answer into the second part - so all parts have incorrect answer, but subsequent parts correct for numbers used.

MirandaWest Sun 18-May-14 11:25:59

If you make one mistake (ie at beginning of question) it would be unfair to penalise you for other parts you have got correct. So your answer could have a lot of wrong figures but still receive quite a lot of marks.

AtiaoftheJulii Sun 18-May-14 11:38:03

Yes, you can often get at least half marks for using the right method - you see ft (for "follow through") in the mark scheme, or marks given for a method using "their answer to (i)".

circular Sun 18-May-14 12:52:22

Thanks, that's good to know. Possibly been under marking her past papers, so could do better than she thinks.

First AS maths paper tomorrow. Good luck to all DCs with exams this week.

Mollymoo1998 Sun 07-Feb-16 17:11:13

I was just wondering how the marking scheme works on a GCSE Edexcel paper. I have the paper back for my daughter and for one question which had a possible of 3 marks she put the right answer but her working out was wrong and she scored 0, surely she should have a mark for the correct answer?

PurpleDaisies Sun 07-Feb-16 17:15:34

Totally depends on the question-there are some where if it is obvious they're just happened upon the answer without knowing why they score nothing. The clue is usually the question says something like "you must show your working". Was it one something like where you had to say whether Steve was right or not and give reasons?

PurpleDaisies Sun 07-Feb-16 17:20:13

Actually just rechecked the guidelines (my maths pupils are doing aqa) and it explicitly says on the edexvel marking guidelines that correct answers with incorrect working score 0.

Bunbaker Sun 07-Feb-16 17:20:46

DD has just taken IGCSE maths. I got her to do loads of past papers for practice. I found a useful website that had papers and mark schemes, and it is pretty obvious that marks are awarded for workings out even if the end result is incorrect. Quite often the first few stages of working out is correct, but a point has been missed or there has been a calculator error.

I used this site and this one

noblegiraffe Sun 07-Feb-16 17:20:56

If the correct answer comes from incorrect working, then it scores 0.

So if someone puts down a load of incorrect working which coincidentally gives the correct answer, that scores 0. That they got the correct answer was an accident, not because they knew what they were doing. Sometimes the mark scheme will highlight common incorrect working which gives the right answer to look out for and award 0 marks.

If the question says 'which store is cheaper, A or B? You must show your working' and they correctly put A but with incorrect or no working, then that's 0 too. They have a fifty-fifty chance of getting it correct by guessing, so they must have the correct working to support their answer.

Mollymoo1998 Sun 07-Feb-16 19:02:56

It is the bottom question that Im questioning the answer is right and the working our all she did wrong was put the degrees the wrong way round on diagram. The answer was right and she scored 0 out of 2!

noblegiraffe Sun 07-Feb-16 19:07:48

Her method is incorrect. She should have done 6y=180 so y=30.

Her answer was correct by chance.

Mollymoo1998 Sun 07-Feb-16 19:23:10

Does that mean she shouldn't have scored anything?

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