BlogTutorsTutoring TipsGuide to Marking English Essay Assignments from Your Students

Guide to Marking English Essay Assignments from Your Students

Do you have a hard time marking the English essay assignments from your students?

Well, this can be quite a common headache for tutors as language can be a rather subjective language.

What you perceive as interesting and well written might not be the same for other readers.

Moverover, you need to keep in mind the Cambridge marking scheme when it comes to N/O/A Levels.

Having a very different essay marking scheme as compared to Cambridge marking schemes can potentially be hazardous to your student’s grades due to the different marking styles and expectations.

But fret not, in this article, I’ll be breaking down the information you need to know on how to mark English essay assignments.

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Read on to find out!

1) PSLE Essay Marking Scheme

I’ll be going through the PSLE marking scheme with you first as PSLE is not marked and graded by Cambridge.

As you should already know, students sitting for PSLE English Essay will be given a topic with 3 pictures that provides different interpretations.

Students will be required to write an essay consisting of at least 150 words.

And the total score of the PSLE essay is 40 marks.

When marking PSLE essay scripts, you should primarily focus on 2 key areas;

– Content (20 marks)

– Language (20 marks)

Content 

When you’re marking content, you should be looking out for the relevance of the story and ideas with relation to the given topic.

If the flow of ideas in the story is; 

  • portrayed in a very clear and logical way with relevance to the topic
  • the story is very well developed

The range of marks awarded should be from 18 marks to 20 marks.

If the flow of ideas in the story is;

  • portrayed in a clear and logical way with relevance to the topic
  • the story is well developed

The range of marks awarded should be from 15 marks to 17 marks.

If the flow of ideas in the story is;

  • portrayed in a rather clear and logical way
  • is appropriate for the topic
  • story being generally developed

The range of marks awarded should be from 11 marks to 14 marks.

If the flow of ideas in the story is;

  • unclear at some parts of the script
  • only has slight relevance to the topic, 
  • has poor development

The range of marks awarded should be from 6 marks to 10 marks.

If the flow of ideas in the story is;

  • confusing, 
  • has no logic
  • all over the place
  • is not relevant to the topic
  • with very poor development

The range of marks awarded should be from 1 marks to 5 marks.

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Language

When you’re marking language, you should be looking out for the grammar, vocabulary, spelling, and punctuation.

The flow of the idea, paragraphing, and sequence of events is also something you should look out for.

If there is;

  • little to no grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors
  • wide use of vocabulary
  • excellent paragraphing and sequencing

The range of marks awarded should be from 18 marks to 20 marks.

If there is; 

  • few grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors
  • adequate use of vocabulary
  • good paragraphing and sequencing

The range of marks awarded should be from 14 marks to 16 marks.

If there is;

  • a number grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors
  • limited use of vocabulary
  • average paragraphing and sequencing

The range of marks awarded should be from 10 marks to 12 marks.

If there is; 

  • quite a number of grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors
  • limited and wrong use of vocabulary
  • poor paragraphing and sequencing

The range of marks awarded should be from 6 marks to 8 marks.

If there is;

  • grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors everywhere
  • limited and wrong use of vocabulary
  • poor paragraphing and sequencing
  • language used causes confusion to readers

The range of marks awarded should be from 2 marks to 4 marks.

Grammar, Spelling, and Punctuation

For students to score for language, they must ensure that there should be little to no grammatical errors.

Followed by little to no spelling errors.

With proper use of punctuations.

If there are numerous grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors, the marks should be deducted accordingly.

Vocabulary

When it comes to vocabulary, you’re assessing your students based on how proficient their English language is by looking at their use of words.

Note that you shouldn’t just award higher marks just because there is a wide use of fancy words, make sure the words are used in appropriate context before awarding the marks.

Paragraphing and Sequencing

For this section, you should be looking out for the flow of the ideas.

There should be a smooth transition from one paragraph to another with no abrupt stop.

Depending on how the student arranges his idea and thoughts, you should penalise the student if the flow of the story causes confusion and is illogical.

2) O Level Marking Scheme

For students sitting for O Level English, their scripts will be marked and graded by Cambridge.

Which brings about the importance of you marking their essays based on the Cambridge Marking Scheme.

For Paper 1, it contains Situational Writing, and Continuous Writing (Essay).

Both Situational Writing and Continuous Writing contain 30 marks respectively.

When marking Situational Writing scripts, you should primarily focus on 2 key areas; 

– Task Fulfillment 

– Language

When marking Continuous Writing scripts, you should primarily focus on flow and language.

Task Fulfillment

If there is;

  • good understanding of purpose
  • clear awareness of context and audience
  • excellent structure and correct format used
  • required points are well developed
  • excellent use of given information and visual stimulus

The range of marks awarded should be 9 marks to 10 marks.

If there is;

  • an understanding of purpose
  • an awareness of context and audience
  • proper structure and format used
  • required points are developed
  • good use of given information and visual stimulus

The range of marks awarded should be 7 marks to 8 marks.

If there is; 

  • adequate understanding of purpose
  • some awareness of context and audience
  • appropriate structure and format used
  • required points are addressed but not developed
  • not much use of given information and visual stimulus

The range of marks awarded should be 5 marks to 6 marks.

If there is;

  • only a slight understanding of purpose
  • slight confusion to context and audience
  • wrong structure and use of format
  • some required points are left out
  • very little use of given information and visual stimulus

The range of marks awarded should be 3 marks to 4 marks.

If there is; 

  • misunderstanding of purpose
  • confusion to context and audience
  • wrong structure and use of format
  • every required point is left out
  • no use of given information and visual stimulus

The range of marks awarded should be 1 mark to 2 marks.

Language (applicable for both Writings)

If there is;

  • high accuracy of grammar, spelling, and punctuations
  • excellent use of tenses
  • excellent paragraphing
  • appropriate tone

The range of marks awarded should be 18 marks to 20 marks.

If there is;

  • good accuracy of grammar, spelling, and punctuations with slight errors
  • good use of tenses
  • good paragraphing
  • appropriate tone

The range of marks awarded should be 16 marks to 17 marks.

If there is;

  • substantial accuracy of grammar, spelling, and punctuations with errors that don’t really affect clarity of communication
  • some tense error
  • some paragraph have weak or inappropriate links
  • appropriate tones with some errors

The range of marks awarded should be 13 marks to 15 marks.

If there is;

  • substantial accuracy of grammar, spelling, and punctuations with errors that slightly affect clarity of communication
  • errors in verb forms and tenses
  • paragraphing lacks unity
  • tones may be uneven

The range of marks awarded should be 11 marks to 12 marks.

If there is;

  • bare accuracy of grammar, spelling, and punctuations with frequent errors that can hamper precision and distract reader from content
  • errors in verb forms and tenses
  • paragraphing lacks unity
  • tones may be inappropriate

The range of marks awarded should be 8 marks to 10 marks.

If there is;

  • many grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors
  • frequent errors in verb forms and tenses
  • repetitive sentences in paragraphs
  • poor paragraphing

The range of marks awarded should be 6 marks to 7 marks.

If there is;

  • many grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors that require readers to re-read multiple times
  • poor language skill set

The range of marks awarded should be 1 mark to 5 marks.

For more in depth information on the marking scheme of O Level English Essays, click on this link.

3) A Level General Paper (GP) Essay Marking Scheme

As a JC tutor, when marking GP essays, you should primarily focus on;

– content 

– use of english

Content

GP Paper 1 comprises 12 questions and students have to answer any one of the 12 questions.

The word count range should be between 500 to 800 words.

The content section takes up 30 marks of Paper 1.

When marking the scripts based on the content, the relevance of whatever is written is very important.

If the content written is not related to the topic chosen, then you’ll have to fail it.

Language

This section contains 20 marks of Paper 1.

The language of the script should contain as little grammar, spelling, and punctuation error in order to score well.

If you spot any of these errors when marking the scripts, you should penalise accordingly.

For more information, click on this link.

4) Plagiarism 

Teaching GP Tuition and having to mark long essays is not easy. 

But you can’t afford to let your students get away with plagiarism.

When it comes to essays, plagiarism is a very serious offence.

Plagiarism occurs when students write their essays completely based on someone’s else.

You may notice that the words and sentences used are identical to model essays.

Make sure to use a tool to check plagiarism.

According to Cambridge, students will score 0 if they plagiarise other people’s essays!

Conclusion

Here you have it, I hope this article is able to help you mark your student’s essays better.

By following these tips, I’m sure your marking style will be almost identical to the markers at Cambridge!

Thanks for reading!

Here are some related articles you might like to read:

How To Structure An English Literature Essay For Singapore …

Star Tips For Scoring Economics Essays In Your A-Levels

 

Rum Tan

Rum Tan

Rum Tan is the founder of SmileTutor and he believes that every child deserves a smile. Motivated by this belief and passion, he works hard day & night with his team to maintain the most trustworthy source of home tutors in Singapore. In his free time, he writes articles hoping to educate, enlighten, and empower parents, students, and tutors.

You may try out his free home tutoring services via smiletutor.sg or by calling 6266 4475 directly today.

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