Thursday, June 5, 2014

How are O level papers set and where are they marked? (Part 1)

Firstly, we need to look at the history of the O level exams. In 1858, the University of Cambridge started a department called the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES). This department has three examining bodies and one of them is the Cambridge International Examinations (CIE). The Ministry of Education, Singapore (MOE) has collaborated with the CIE examination board to deliver the Singapore GCE O Level examinations.

Setting of the examination paper starts with item writers who write individual questions. Once all the individual questions have been submitted by item writers, the setter or principal examiner will choose questions and design the entire paper, including the mark scheme. If any of the questions needs modifications, they’re sent back to the item writer for revision. The reviser is someone who checks the accuracy of the questions during these stages of development. Once the final version of the question paper is ready, the vetter attempts the paper and prepares his or her own version of the mark scheme. Both mark schemes are compared for similarity and the question paper is further modified if necessary, before printing.

In Part 2 of this post we shall see the marking process of GCE O level papers.

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