January 26 2015

Understanding Standards Logo

Graphic CommunicationHigherQuestion Paper Setting

Question Paper Setting

How is the Examination Paper set?

Setters work at least one year in advance.

Initially each setter prepares a series of questions that will cover a balanced range of topics from all units in the course.† A meeting chaired by the Principal Assessor (PA) is then convened to discuss the paper.

A draft paper is sent to Vetterís who then meet with the PA and the Setters to finalise and agree questions prior to the paper being finally set.

The final stage in the process involves a Scrutineer, appointed by the SQA, who reads, checks and approves the final paper before it goes to print.

The Marking Process

After the examination, scripts are sent out to Markers from across the country. There are usually about 40 Markers.† Markers are then expected to mark, in pencil, a number of scripts to familiarise themselves with the marking scheme and to note any problems that they may encounter. Prior to the Markersí Meeting the Setters along with the Principal Assessor meet to discuss candidatesí responses to the exam. They select a series of candidatesí responses for each question. These are marked, to the marking scheme and any additions or modifications to the marking scheme are agreed.

During the Markers Meeting the final marking scheme is discussed and fine-tuned.

At this meeting the markers are given the opportunity to raise any problems they may have found during their initial marking. It is important that all Markers attend this meeting prior to marking to ensure continuity and national standards.

Once the marking is complete, Markers are rigorously checked. The process of standardisation allows highly experienced Markers to sample the work and standards of marking for all Markers. Those who are found to be either lenient or severe are given a factor to indicate severity or leniency.

A factor of zero means that the Marker has accurately and consistently marked to the agreed standard with no deviation. A factor of L1 or L2 or S1 or S2 would indicate a Marker who is a little lenient or severe.

At Finalisation, the papers of candidates who fall close to the grade boundary will have their scripts looked at again, by the Examination Team, if their paper had been marked by a severe or lenient†Marker. If necessary the grade of a candidate can be altered.