/ GCSE Biology Marking

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lowersharpnose - on 08 Jan 2013
I have been helping a friend's son with his revision for biology GCSE.

This has included some past papers. Many questions are of the form "explain/give a reason for X".

Looking at the mark scheme, it appears that no marks are deducted for wrong answers.

For a one mark answer, you could put down two possible answers e.g.

- deep roots
- shallow roots

If one of these is correct, then you get the mark.

Is this correct?

Jack B on 08 Jan 2013
In reply to lowersharpnose:

I don't know if this is still the case, but there used to be a general principle (so not in the mark scheme for individual questions) that you would loose any marks awarded for statements you then contradicted.

My teachers would write eg "+2" next to the correct answer and "-2 SIF" next to the wrong one. SIF standing for "shot in foot".

When they say no marks are deducted for wrong answers they mean wrong answers that don't contradict the right answer you also gave.

That was 10 years ago mind...
climb the peak - on 08 Jan 2013
In reply to lowersharpnose: The marks schemes in GCSE science are horrible. You don't get marks unless you put the really specific correct answer. Which basically means you end up memorizing the markscheme not the course content.
I wouldn't be surprised though if you didn't loose marks for putting two contradicting staments
Mattyk - on 08 Jan 2013
In reply to lowersharpnose: i mark for the board and we often call it the list rule.

e.g. if a person lists several correct answers then that's fine they will get 1 mark.

If they put two answers for a 1 mark answer then if one is incorrect it will negate the correct answer and they'll get nothing.

Occasionaly they say in the mark scheme IGNORE xxxx which wouldn't negate a marking point.

highclimber - on 08 Jan 2013
In reply to lowersharpnose:

Mark schemes are quite pedantic when it comes to what will and what won't be accepted. You would almost definitely not get any marks for putting all the possible answers to a question. Marks are never deducted, they just don't get given if the answer is wrong or not answered acording to the mark scheme.

make sure he understand the importance of looking at the question and paying particular attention to the number of marks available to that question. if it's just 1 mark - just a word that answers the question will generally suffice.
It is very rare to get a science exam question with more than 3 or 4 marks available for a question. The reason for this is simple - it's easier to mark.

The general advice is to spend no more than 1 min per mark and USE SCIENTIFIC WORDS where necessary.
lowersharpnose - on 08 Jan 2013
In reply to Mattyk:

Thanks.


chrisbaggy - on 08 Jan 2013
In reply to lowersharpnose: by that i assume it means it does not negatively mark, i.e if you put the wrong answers you could end up in negative marks e.g. 2 marks for the first question but u get 3 taken away for the second question as you put the wrong answer etc
Swirly - on 08 Jan 2013
In reply to chrisbaggy: no you can't lose more mark than have been awared for each part of the question. As MattyK says they are marked on the list principle, the first page or 2 of the mark scheme should explain this although if it has been provided by the school they'll probably leave this out to avoid photocopying costs. Also worth noting you can't be penalised twice for the same mistake this normally occurs in calculations (less likely in biology) where if you use a wrong answer from an earlier part of a question then providing the steps are carried out correctly you can get full marks in a later part. In other words if you can't do the first section of a two part calculation question write down any old guff to use in the next part.
Starkey92 - on 08 Jan 2013
In reply to lowersharpnose: When i did mine a couple of years ago, it was positive marking so you only get marks for correct answers. However, contradicting answers got no marks
Mattyk - on 08 Jan 2013
In reply to highclimber:

"
> It is very rare to get a science exam question with more than 3 or 4 marks available for a question. The reason for this is simple - it's easier to mark."


Not any more. we have 6 mark questions now. 3 per paper so about 30% of paper. The main aim i would say is to aim to get SOME marks on each of these. There are 3 bands to the answers L1 L2 L3. to get
L1 generally incomplete science, poor use of techinal terms.
L2: technical terms used correctly and partly complete explanation OR complete explanation but naff language
L3: the full shabang.

I would aim for L2: the advice i'm giving my students is to list at the side all technical terms to do with the answer/topic and then write an aswer incorporating them - as long as they know a bit of the science it might open up L2 which is enough imho.
lowersharpnose - on 08 Jan 2013
In reply to Mattyk:

I have noticed a few questions that ask a question based on some given info. The answer required is Yes or No backed up with reasons.

Full marks can be achieved with a well argued yes or no.

I find these really odd, because often there is not enough data to answer either yes or no and no marks appear to be available for stating that a yes or no answer is not possible because of X.

The exams are certainly wordy (biology, chemistry and physics) with few calculations and no requirement to know even the simplest of formulae -which are often give, so the student just has to plug the given numbers in.

There must be quite a big gap now between GCSE and A level in these subjects.

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