Sunday, December 26, 2010

Marking of matric exams

I was involved with marking the WCED matric exam papers where many of the markers came from places as far away as Knysna, Mossel Bay and Heidelberg. The day following the marking I set off driving to Mossel Bay and as I drove the long road I wondered at people going from so far away all the way to a marking centre to mark. I salute all the markers, those from near and far!
Picture of me walking along the cliffs at Mossel Bay

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Digital story of the Nativity

This digital version of the Xmas story may be of interest -
I think it is lovely!  Merry Xmas!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Multiple choice questions - Solution to marking?

During the course of 2010 I became very tired of marking the never ending amount to work in CAT. During the year I completed the Get Smarter Internet SuperUser course where we had multiple choice questions (MCQ) at the end of many of the modules. I wondered if those MCQ questions were an answer to the pen and paper marking!

At school during the year we did self marking MCQ questions with software from Virtual Assessor (VA) every Monday on the previous week’s work, theory and practical. Have a look at a PPT on VA presented at a conference in September. I think Evalunet and Moodle have similar self marking features to Virtual Assessor.

We learned the theory, mainly in Grades 10 and 11, and the practical in Grade 12 with regular tests.

At the end of the year I thought of using just a big MCQ test for the theory exams, and not doing the normal written paper. At the end we did both papers, a big MCQ exam using VA and the normal written exam. One exam paper marked in 1 second and the other took ages to mark. For both grades 10 and 11 the VA paper had a mark of 65% and the written 35%. I added the two percentages together and used the average for the final written exam mark. Now such a difference shows that there is a huge gap in knowing the work and applying it, and has again made me rethink the role of MCQ. Maybe I also needed to improve my questions. However doing these tests kept me focused on my teaching and the learners on learning. Here are my exams copied from VA, Grade 10 and Grade 11. (Obviously they cannot work as self marking questions as they are not in VA but have a look.) I think they are quite demanding and difficult, but both grades achieved 65%. Why the huge difference? What should be used at schools for revision tests? What should be used for high stakes exams