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GCSE Maths - Marked down for not writing answer in correct place?!

(19 Posts)
Jungfraujoch Fri 22-Apr-16 14:46:44

Any teachers/examiners about? Is this a thing? My DS excuse for low mark in a practice paper. Parents evening next week so will find out but was just curious!

tiggytape Fri 22-Apr-16 16:30:25

I only know from DS who is Year 10 and has done past papers at school:
there are typically a few lines given for a student to do all their working out (and what they write here can gain them marks if they use the correct method for example)
Below all of this is a space for their answer (and it usually has the units written in already for them so they just put in the number).

If they write something else in that answer space or leave it blank but the correct answer is somewhere muddled up inside all the workings out, then I can see it is possible they wouldn't get the full credit for it.

DS's problem is the other way round. He thinks the examiners kindly give him 5 lines of working out room just so he can write down "ratio = 1:5:2" on one line and then nothing else at all until he writes the final answer at the end.
He tries to do the next 5 steps all in his head without writing down another thing. So far his lack of success with this method hasn't put him off repeating it in every test!

FinnMcCool Fri 22-Apr-16 16:35:40

I'm not a teacher or examiner, but in the mark scheme of the practice past papers we have been doing it says "if the answer is missing, but the correct answer is seen in the body of the script, full marks should be awarded"
That's the CEA board, in Northern Ireland. Can link if you want.

catslife Fri 22-Apr-16 16:55:48

What Finn says is only true if examiners see the whole paper. For some boards (or papers) examiners mark a whole paper and will find an answer written elsewhere. However for some exam boards, different examiners mark different questions and don't see the whole paper. In the latter case it could be missed as a blank space is awarded zero marks.

lborolass Fri 22-Apr-16 17:01:25

Whether or not it's correct for the exam he's just taken it's really important in exams marked online to write the answer in the correct place and only in the space provided. You can't rely on the marker seei it otherwise.

It's a really simple concept, do you know why your son didn't understand what he needed to do?

honeysucklejasmine Fri 22-Apr-16 17:04:04

In science papers where maths are required, as long as the answer is present, we don't care if it's not in the right place.

Email the teacher and say you'd like to see his paper if possible. Assuming your son doesn't have it already. Tell the teacher his excuse too.

MazzleDazzle Fri 22-Apr-16 17:11:56

Some final exam papers are scanned and sent out to markers electronically. If the answer isn't within the correct borders, it might get missed. Also, as someone else has said, sometimes one person marks q.1-5, someone else 6-10 etc.

Jungfraujoch Fri 22-Apr-16 17:43:19

This was a pre mock exam, but first time he's done a paper under proper exam conditions so can't be too harsh! He says himself he made some silly mistakes so onwards and upwards! Will chat to his Maths teacher next week at parents evening. She said if he'd written the answer in the correct place plus shown his workings out on a couple of questions where he forgot he probably could have had another 10 points. I just wish all exam boards marked in the same way - seems a bit unfair!

cricketballs Fri 22-Apr-16 18:39:08

I mark GCSE (not maths) and as individual questions are scanned in, if the answer is not in the expected place it can be missed off the scan. If it's slightly visable we have the ability to say 'out of scan' but if its not noticeable that the answer is somewhere then I won't.

Its the same with writing, if the candidate writes a longer answer than there are available libes, then don't leave too large a gap between the lines available and the rest of the answer, so if it doesn't get scanned it is obvious to the marker that the answer is out of view.

Might seem a harsh lesson by the teachef but it's an invaluable one

MsMermaid Fri 22-Apr-16 18:44:50

We have a policy of being very strict on marking for mocks, mainly because we want the pupils to remember it and write things in the right place in the proper exam. I teach maths. Usually if the answer is written somewhere in the space for working then it will be within the scan for the markers, but sometimes there is a lot of working and it needs to be really clear which part of that is their final answer, which would be where we'd dock a mark for not showing the answer in the right place/highlighting it clearly.

Jungfraujoch Fri 22-Apr-16 23:32:38

Thank you teachers for the explanations. He said he circled the answer in his working outs. As I said up thread I will get the lowdown next week at parents evening. At the end of the day it's a lesson learnt!!

cricketballs Sat 23-Apr-16 07:47:14

Apologies for my spelling blush shouldn't post using my phone

lborolass Sat 23-Apr-16 13:39:03

Msmermaid - are you saying docking marks is an internal school policy or an external exam board one? If it's the latter do you mind saying which board it is, I think it's a very bad policy to ever deduct marks.

Are you saying that you give a mark and then take it away if it's not clear?

That seems like a very odd way to mark - you look for the answer then take away the mark? Why just not give it in the first place and save yourself work, the end result is the same surely

OurBlanche Sat 23-Apr-16 13:51:30

Just to add... the questions include instructions that are as much part of the answer as the maths is. So if an answer is written elsewhere the marks may not be given - for a wide range of reasons.

This is the same across exams. That students take little notice (someties) is blatantly obvious in science practical exams, when thre are some very, very specific instructions which, if not followed precisiley can mean that weven of the experiment is done perfectly the dandidate can get 0 marks... for not have written it down correctly.

Sounds harsh but such stuff is tryng to teach scientific rigour... imagine if every employee filed things their own way, filled out formas as they chose, etc etc!!

This was, as you can probably guess, one of my bugbears when teachng A levels "But I got the answer right" is a sentence I never want to hear again! smile

OurBlanche Sat 23-Apr-16 13:53:13

Oh! my spelling. Apologies I have a new kpyboard and it is a bit further to the left than the one I am used to!

MsMermaid Sat 23-Apr-16 19:01:39

I don't mean dock marks as in give it then take it away, I mean not giving marks in the first place even though I can see the correct answer.

It's an internal policy that we mark harshly in mocks so pupils are more likely to a) continue to work hard, and b) get a pleasant surprise on results day.

Jungfraujoch Sat 23-Apr-16 19:40:29

Agree MsMermaid!

GinandJag Sun 24-Apr-16 05:53:49

He needs to learn to follow the instructions on the paper and not just decide for himself.

Tia1973 Fri 29-Apr-16 18:59:22

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

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