Most teachers will be familiar with marking KS4 answers.  It is far less tricky than it used to be, given the publication of GCSE mark schemes and textbooks written by Chief Examiners which feature annotated examples of students’ answer.  We have Chief Examiners’ reports which have ‘edited highlights’ of types of answers as well as examples of answers which were awarded full marks.  This has taken much of the mystery out of preparing students for the final examination and for coursework.


So we perhaps need to devote our time now to helping students increase their marks by small steps.  We need to show how an answer awarded a D could easily be turned into a C.  We could simply give students a ladder of progression featuring the grade criteria for each level.  Far more valuable, however, would be the use of student-friendly mark schemes and sample answers which students can improve by one or two marks.  We are not short of model answers for the top grades.  But these can serve to demoralise.  So what should be provided in their place?  What follows are a few key pointers.

Some Key Pointers

  1. Use examination mark schemes, but always adapt 
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