For markers

UKLO markers

Welcome to marking

We depend heavily on volunteers who mark the Advanced entries for Round 1.

We have two kinds of volunteer:

  • individual volunteers
  • ‘markathons’ (where a group of students and staff mark collectively).
    • To find out about running a ‘markathon’, click here.

How does it work?

The following instructions apply equally to individual markers or to markathons, except where indicated.

  • In December or January we ask you to tell us, via your account on the portal, how many scripts you think you can mark (your script capacity).
    • As a rough guide, a typical script will probably take you around ten minutes, but some will take a lot less and others somewhat more.
  • In January we ask schools to indicate how many Advanced candidates they think they might enter: their candidate estimate. This is just an estimate, and may differ from the actual number, but it’s on this figure that we base our assignments of markers to schools.
  • Early in February, the portal uses your script capacity to assign you as marker to one or more schools. The portal emails the teachers your contact details, i.e. your email address and your home mailing address, and puts the teachers’ contact details on your portal, so you should see them when you log in.
  • The schools sit the test during the first complete week of February. After the Advanced test, the teacher:
    • scans all the scripts into a single pdf file,
    • uploads this file to the portal,
    • adds a complete list of competitors’ names on the portal.
    • makes contact with you if you haven’t already made contact, and you negotiate with the teacher about
      • whether or not they should send the paper scripts to your postal address. This depends on whether you prefer to mark online or on paper. If you ask for the paper scripts, the teacher may include a stamped self-addressed envelope for you to return the scripts at the end of the process.
      • whether or not the teacher should also send you a list of the candidate names, if you prefer to record scores on a list.
  • If you don’t see the material from one of your schools on the portal, you notify the Marker coordinator. If the paper scripts don’t arrive, tell the teacher as soon as possible.
  • At the end of the test week, we email you to say the portal contains the documents you need:
    • the Advanced test paper
    • the correct answers
    • the marking scheme
    • some explanatory comments on the question.
  • You mark the scripts as soon as you can, but in any case within a week of receiving them, to fit the dates for this year.
  • The numbers you assign are called ‘points’, not to be confused with the ‘marks’ that the portal will calculate on the basis of your points.
    • Points follow the internal logic of the problem; e.g. if the problem asks for 17 forms, you may give one point per form, so the total points is 17.
    • Marks follow the external logic of the whole test, and reflect the difficulty (and importance) of the problem; so very easy Breakthrough problems are worth 5 marks whereas a very hard Advanced problem may be worth 25.
  • You record your points on the name-list which the school will have entered on the portal, and which will convert your points into the final marks that we use for classifying candidates.
    • For markathons: we strongly recommend you to use volunteers to enter the marks while the markathon is taking place; otherwise you may find yourself with a very long and boring job for which you haven’t allowed time!
  • If you have been sent scripts, you keep them until the results are announced, when you can either return them to schools (using the envelope they sent you) or dispose of them.