Effect of marking scheme on the consistency of scoring mathematics examinations
It is common practice for secondary schools in Kenya to use common examinations to assess students’ achievement. Proper monitoring of how formative assessment tests are typed and administered is usually done by school administrators. The results of these examinations must be fair and reliable as it is the only feedback given to students and parents. Little attention however has been given to how teachers mark these school examinations and therefore the validity of the scores given is always questionable. The study sought to examine the effects of a marking scheme on the consistency of scoring mathematics examinations. The objectives of the study were; to investigate the effect of a marking scheme on consistency of scoring mathematics examinations in schools; to establish if moderation of a marking scheme improves the consistency of scoring and to determine students’ factors that may have any effect on consistency of scoring mathematics examinations. The study was guided by classical test theory and positivist perspective of assessment. The research employed descriptive research design. The target population was 156 mathematics teachers, 23 deans of studies and deputy principals in case a school did not have a dean of studies. A sample of 57 teachers, 10 deans of studies and 2 deputy principals was taken for the study. Descriptive statistics such as frequencies, percentages, means and standard deviations were used to report the data. Cronbach alpha a coefficient for internal consistency was also computed. The analysed data was presented in the form of frequency tables, bar graphs and pie chart. The study revealed that when a common moderated marking scheme was used, consistency of scoring mathematics improved. Organization of answers on the script, Handwriting of the student, knowledge of student and previous performance affected how teachers marked student work. However, personal feelings, gender, race, social class and physical attractiveness of the students did not affect the way teachers in Makadara Subcounty marked mathematics examinations. The study concluded that a well prepared marking scheme enhances consistency of scoring especially if it is prepared and moderated by all teachers marking the examination. The consistency could further be enhanced if a marking scheme is piloted and any difference in interpretation is discussed and adjusted accordingly. The study recommends proper training of teachers on essential assessment concepts, principles, techniques and procedures by teachers training institutions. In addition, Ministry of Education (MoE) in collaboration with Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) should organize workshop on setting and marking of examinations. Finally, research should be conducted on the effects of feedback to examiners on consistency of scoring examinations. This study should also be replicated in other sub-counties for the purpose of comparing the study results.