The Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority (HKEAA) test scanning centre runs up to 24 hours during the peak season of HKDSE exam marking, according to a blog post published by the organisation on Tuesday.
About 800,000 test papers are sent from examination centres to the scanning centre every year, where candidates’ answer scripts are scanned, and their images saved in a secure database for record keeping.
“Ever since the on-screen marking system was implemented, no HKDSE examination papers have been lost,” said a spokesperson of HKEAA’s Public Affairs and Communications Unit. She added that most answer scripts are carefully destroyed at the end of every exam cycle, around four weeks after the results of rechecking and remarking are released. “Some soft copies are kept for research purposes, but all the attached personal data is erased beforehand”.
Some 4,500 markers assess answer scripts using on-screen marking (OSM), which ensures the identity of the candidates remains hidden, and markers will not be given scripts by their students or close family.
For core subjects like Chinese Language, English Language and Liberal Studies, scripts are marked twice by two different markers. If the discrepancy between the marks given by two markers is larger than the range of tolerance, a third and even fourth marker will check the script.
Every marked script then undergoes at least two stages of checkmarking by the examiners or deputy examiners to ensure the accuracy and consistency of marking.
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Before marking beings, markers meet with examiners to look at marks awarded on sample scripts, and go over marking principles and standards and mark schemes, to ensure scripts are marked fairly and accurately.
After the papers are destroyed, a separate record is kept of candidates’ personal data, such as their name, Identity Card number, gender, date of birth, school reference number, as well as subjects entered and subject grade.
According to the 2017 application guide on Data Access Request (DAR) for examination-related personal data, candidates can apply for their examination scripts and irregularity reports on the working day before the script destruction date. Scores given by individual markers for each exam question will be shown in the DAR Reports.
Students can still apply for the Reports after the deadline, but only the overall scores for each paper will be provided.