I’m not posting anything much because I’m grading IB test papers.

I’m a grader for the International Baccalaureate (IB) program. IB releases scores to students all over the world on the same day. I think this year it’s July 6. So every paper in every subject all over the world has to be graded between the test dates in the first three weeks of May and late June, when they have meetings to confirm the grades and the number of points it takes on each component of each course to earn the different IB grades.

I used to get packages from all over the world of the actual handwritten papers, but IB is moving to electronic grading. As a result all of the economic papers are scanned and made available to us on an online grading software program used by IB. That also means that they no longer sample and adjust my grading to assure that my grading is consistent with the other hundreds of graders around the world. Instead, sprinkled among my papers are “seeds,” papers that have been pregraded by the senior leaders of the grading team. You don’t know which papers are seeds and which are “live” papers. So we grade away, using the 24 page guideline (and the 4 pages of clarifications and additions), trying to grade them consistently and correctly. It takes me an average of about 20 minutes per paper, and I have a total of 165 papers to grade. My goal, now that I am up to speed, is to do about 20 a day.

But the moment of truth is when I submit my graded papers into the big IB computer in the sky. That’s when it determines which papers were seeds, and it checks to see if my grade is consistent with the “official” or “definitive” grades that have already been assigned. So when I submit papers, I hold my breath. The program submits the seeds first, and after each one you get a message. If you miss the “correct” grade by too much, you have to undergo extra training so you get back to grading correctly. If your grading is okay, you can keep grading. Miss too often, and you’re fired from grading.

So I submit, and watch, and wait. Then the message comes through. “You have submitted a grade that is within tolerance.”


I’ll be glad when this is over. Just 90 more papers to go.