Seeking Equilibrium

on Thursday, 22 July 2010
After going through a seminar today, I think I just need to make a few things clear.

Marking papers need consistency. You can't say sweeping statements too casually i.e. Marking these answers is holistic.

I'm sure for a longer essay where students are supposed to utilise their language prowess to the full extent,  marking the language aspect can be a little bit difficult. For example, it's hard to decide which one of these sentences deserve more marks:

I have something important to do tomorrow.

I have an urgent errand to run the next day.

Tomorrow, there are some chores that need fulfilling by yours truly.

In a long essay of 350 words, probably you don't look at individual sentences to mark language. You look at their general usage and maybe notice a few good sections in their paragraphs that show a good command of the language. It's not individual sentences. In other words, marking an essay has a completely different approach compared to marking summaries or novel answers.

The summary and novel section of the PMR exam focuses more on content. If you can provide an example or evidence from the novel you have read, points are allocated. If you are capable of giving reason(s) supported by proof from the novel, points are allocated. In terms of giving them grades for their language, if they are capable of explaining these things needed without any errors, I think we should consider not penalising them at all. Contrastingly, penalise them when they commit errors.

If a student says:

I love the character Mr. Enfield because he is brave. He felt no fear in his heart when confronting the evil Mr. Hyde when Hyde was caught trampling a poor young girl in the streets.


I love the character Mr. Enfield because he is brave. He is not afraid of confronting Mr. Hyde when he hurt a young girl.

For this section, I don't think the second sentence should be not given the same marks for language if he did not write similar to the first sentence. I think both made their point clear with the right evidence without committing any grammatical errors.

For this section and summary, I think it's important to be consistent in giving them marks for language.


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