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IB Business Marking Codes

When I have a pile of tests or practice exams to mark, I want to give as much feedback to students as possible. To help with that, I use marking codes --which I call my "marking shorthand." 

Using a shorthand like this helps me provide more detailed and specific feedback to my students on their tests and practice exams –-which, in turn, helps them know how to improve.  

My most commonly used symbols on IB Business Management Tests and exams 

= Good point. This one is pretty obvious. I try to let you know exactly where you have made a good insight and are therefore earning marks. 10 check marks doesn’t necessarily mean 10/10 marks, but sometimes it does work out like that. I always reward good CTs and good CL’s (This relates to my 3-step method for business answers)

+CTs – please include more Course Theories (CT’s) next time, in order to improve your marks on a question like this. Course Theories basically means key terms, or references to related concepts, which help explain the case.

+CLs – This answer would have benefited from more Case Links (CT’s), so try to add in more CL’s next time, in order to improve your marks on a question like this.

XCT = No course theories used, or the theories used were explained in a way that was wrong.

XCL = No case link. You should always be using examples to explain things –for example, in your definitions.

WCT = Weak course theory. In a 2-mark definition question, you maybe only got 1 mark because your course theory wasn’t explained precisely right. For example, your definition might have been too vague.  

WCL – A weak case link. Maybe you only put in the name of the company, without showing how the case links to our theories. When Case Links (CL’s) are required, we want to see you understanding the case material and how the Course Theories (CT’s) help you to explain what’s actually going on.

X = You are mistaken here. Incorrect point.

Imp = Imprecise. This point is not entirely incorrect, but it is mostly or partially incorrect. Or, the point it true, but you haven’t explained it in a way that is correct.

NM = No marks were granted for this (i.e. for this paragraph), or that putting this in was not necessary

NN = Not necessarily. If you have made a statement which is possibly, but not necessarily true. For example, you may have said that a certain investment wouldn’t be profitable, but you’re just guessing that it wouldn’t be, so I might write NN to remind you to think about that.

RTQ = Refer to the question (or “please read the question”), or ‘you aren’t answering the question here’. Some teachers might write NAQ, meaning you have “Not answered [the] question”

Exp = Explain this, or expand on what you’ve mentioned here. When I write this, I’m telling you that you that you’ve skipped a part of the explanation here. Don’t assume your reader already understands complicated concepts. This is the most common mistake students make. They miss out on marks because they don’t explain concepts.

SW = So What? This means I’m asking you to link what you are saying to the question you are being asked. Sometimes it’s not clear how your sentence is helping to answer the question. But when you make these links strong, your logic is easy to follow and your answer is convincing to the reader (therefore higher marks).

Other shorthand I use in Business Management marking (less often):  

Des = Descriptive. This not a good thing in business writing. Generally, in Business we are trying to either analyze or evaluate. So when you simply describe the situation you aren’t earning marks.

Dev = (Or Dev’p). Please develop your answer, to ensure you have clearly and fully answered the question.

? = Confusing, or unclear. This can be used with other notations (i.e. “?, exp” means “This is unclear, please explain.”)

G (i.e. 6g) = Sometimes I’ll give you a “5g” which means that you were between a 5 and a 6 and I was generous to you and gave you a 6.  Even though I feel this is a fair grade, another teacher marking this may have marked it lower.  If you read this you should strengthen the work in your next attempt in order to be sure of achieving the same grade.

Dev (or Dev'p) – Develop or expand your answer further, to achieve higher marks. For example, I might write “Dev’p + CT’s” which means that more course theories were needed to raise your marks in this question.

XGr = Grammar mistake

XSp = Spelling mistake

OFR (sometimes called “ECF” = This means Own Figure Rule (or Error carried forward). This indicates that you are not penalized twice for a wrong calculation.

SYW = Show your work (i.e. in calculations). This includes, showing the formula, even if it’s on the formula booklet –because sometimes that’s the only way we can give you partial credit. 

(d.) = define this. You could have gotten an extra mark, for defining this term.  

FS = Please write in full sentences.

✓ DIG = Good diagram

✓ EXP = Good explanation

✓CL = Good case link. Good use of text

ND = You have not fully answered this question

ROS = Run-on-Sentence

Rep = Repetition. You have written the same thing twice, though maybe in a slightly different way. You will only get marks the first time you say something.

UC = Unsupported Conclusion. I will write this when you are making a point in your conclusion which is not supported by your analysis. When you make conclusions without using course frameworks, you aren’t using the skills the course has taught you and therefore aren’t earning marks.

PD = Poor diagram

Generic – This part of your answer is very general and isn’t showing your knowledge of the case.

Lifting = This is taking a line from the case and putting it in the answer. It is not dishonest, but it also doesn’t show your fresh insights into the situation. It’s an example of a WCL (a weak case link).


Cite this page as:
Woods, Tim. “IB Business Marking Codes ” IBMastery 1 Jan 2017. Web. CHANGE THIS TO TODAY’S DATE <>