The need for scoring

One interesting piece of feedback I received on my prototype was a question about the need to share a single score. Does this not undermine all the rich data and reduce pupil performance to a number – just like any other assessment?


Another suggestion was to share a more traditional correct/total score as well as the one based on the certainty-based mark-scheme.

My feeling is that the former is essential and the latter undermines everything, here’s why…

Scoring leads to honesty

The purpose of the mark-scheme is not so much to generate the final number as to influence the certainty selection behaviour during the assessment. As it stands, the mark-scheme is ungameable – the best approach is honesty. The only thing you can to improve scores (other than learning things better) is heightened self-awareness of your certainty-level (I’ll be writing about this on another day).

If we take away the scoring, we take away this incentive for honest reporting of certainty and, as a result, lose one of the most insightful aspects of the assessment.

Scoring makes improvement clear

Say you do a test at the beginning of a unit – many get a high proportion of questions correct but certainty is low. Certainty scores provide a big margin for improvement that simply wouldn’t exist with a simple mark-scheme.

Dual scoring will undermine the result

If students are aware that simple scores are also considered, this lowers the stakes and, probably, lowers the honesty.

Dual scoring could have bad psychological impacts


Simple scoring ignores misconceptions and reporting this alternative score allows pupils to deceive themselves about their level of ability. Those with high self-esteem will choose the mark-scheme that portrays them best whilst those with low self-esteem may allow this to reinforce negative self-image. We can avoid this by having one rulebook and sticking to it.

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