‘Inherently frail’ – the verdict on marking

‘Inherently frail’ – the verdict on marking:

“Call for debate as lack of consistency in assessment attracts warning of student litigation. Rebecca Attwood reports. Lecturers’ marking of student work is “inherently frail” and assessment procedures would struggle to stand up to legal challenge, academics warned this week.” (Via The THES news).

The interesting part of this article is down the bottom of the page:

“According to Professor Price, what is needed is a focus on sharing understanding of assessment standards among staff and students. The most effective way of shoring up standards is through cultivating a much closer learning community, she said.

Professor Bloxham agreed and said the involvement of students could guard against potential litigation. “It would be better for us to engage students from the beginning in assessment of their own work against standards, helping them understand that part of being a professional in any field is being able to recognise good quality,” she said. “We need to express our marks as a reflection of our professional judgment, not an absolute.”

The only point I would add would be that if we place an increasing importance on the quality of marking we will need to give it an increasing amount of resource in terms of academic staff time. I believe that the ideas outlined above will require this, but I also believe that better understood, timely feedback is worth the effort – that is more emphasis on the summative rather than the terminal.

For academics, marking needs to be not seen as a near unbearable chore but something that is rewarding and and even fun. Chance for some creative thinking here!

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