Central to the application is the marking guide. According to the Australian Universities Teaching Committee (AUTC) the process of assessment should provide greater attention to the communication of clear assessment criteria to students via the development and use of marking guides (James, et al, 2002). They go to state:
Markers Assistant provides the facilities to create a structured marking guide to suit an assessment task.
An item in the marking guide may be a heading item that has no mark associated with it but provides information to explain or group items within the marking guide or it may define assessment criteria and have an associated mark or weighting that represents the maximum marks that can be applied for that marking criteria item.
The marking guide criteria is more efficient and informative if organised in hierarchical groups where the high level criteria must be met before other items within that criteria are considered. Grouping allows marking guides to be set up that orders information into related topics, making it easier to interpret, speeding up the marking process.
Once a marking guide is created, Markers Assistant displays the marking guide in the form of checkboxes organised in its hierarchical configuration. Markers identify the higher-level criteria and work down through the criteria as required. If the high level criteria are not met then the remaining items in the group are disabled and are not considered and marks deducted accordingly. Each item in the marking guide can be switched off by selecting its check box or an adjustment made to the allocated mark or weighting by selecting the item with the right mouse button.
An item dialog is displayed where the marker can adjust the allocated mark and add a comment relating the expected outcomes for that particular item. Once the marking guide is complete and loaded into the application, a list of students can be loaded or individual students added via an add student dialog. Individual students are identified by information supplied via a student list consisting of a unique identifier, such as student number or ID and an associated email address if results are to be delivered via email.
Each student loaded into the application can be found either by identifying them in a drop down menu or by searching all or part of their ID or email address via a Find dialog.
The student identifier is used through out the process to identify a particular student and their associated view of the marking, their allocated marks and comments.