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An exploration of self-confidence and insight into marking accuracy among GCSE maths and physics markers

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Nadas, Rita 
Suto, Irenka 


A considerable volume of literature in education and occupational research investigates issues in self-confidence and insight. However, GCSE markers' perceptions of their marking performance have not, to our knowledge, been examined. Exploring markers' perceptions is important for several reasons. First, if markers' estimates of their own performance prove to be accurate, then this information could be used by Awarding Bodies in standardisation procedures to identify and discuss examination questions that markers have difficulties with. If, however, markers' insight proves to be unreliable and unrelated to their actual marking accuracy, then their feedback on 'problem areas' could be misleading: for example, when conducting standardisation procedures, Principal Examiners might find themselves focussing on the 'wrong' questions. Secondly, investigating whether self-confidence and insight change or become more accurate with more marking practice or more feedback could inform marker training practices.

In this article, we present research which explored GCSE markers' perceptions of their own marking accuracy. Markers' levels of self-confidence and insight, and possible changes in these measures over the course of the marking process, were investigated. The term 'self-confidence' here denotes markers' post-marking estimates of how accurately they thought they had marked a sample of questions; 'insight' refers to the relationship between markers' actual marking accuracy and estimated accuracy, indicating how precise their estimates were. Overall, we found very different patterns of self-confidence and insight for maths and physics markers.



Marking, Psychology of assessment, GCSE/IGCSE

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Research Matters

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Research Division, Cambridge University Press & Assessment

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