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Once tha markers receive their marking project files containing a copy of the marking guide and their designated students, they load the marking project file into the Markers Assistant application and setup the environment to suit their desired configuration using the Environment Settings dialog and setting the preferences as required.


If the environment is set correctly, the first student submission will be found and displayed.  The application checks the file creation date and compares it with the assignment submission date and alerts the marker of a late submission.  If we assume the students have submitted report formatted in Microsoft Word.  Therefore the markers would use Microsoft Word (MS) to display the submitted MS Word documents as specified in the assignment specifications.  It should be noted that the application does not restrict the marker to use just one application to view submissions.  Facilities are provided to deal with the variations in submission file types that do occur.  


A marker then begins to examine the submission against the criteria set within the marking guide.  By default the marking guide assumes the student has full marks and the marker will take marks from the student rather than starting from a zero mark.  This is based on the assumption that most students will have completed more of the assessment task than not.  It was found to be a more efficient approach to the marking and reduced the overall amount of time taken to fill in the marking guide.


If a particular criteria is not met, the marker can select the items check box, removing the tick and consequently deducting the associated mark from the total for the assessment.  Where the marker feels the student has partially met the criteria the marker selects the item with the right mouse button and adjust the marks accordingly via the Edit Item Data dialog.


At this point the marker can also make a general comment that relates to the particular item.  This comment does not relate to the particular student being marked but focuses on informing what was expected or possible answers that could have been supplied for the particular item.  Case studies have found that markers tended to provide critical feedback to individual students rather than solutions.  This tended to slow the marking process down and did not provide the basis for quality feedback.  


Markers are asked to make comments about the issues the students were misunderstanding, misinterpreting or provide examples of good work they considered useful and relevant.  This information would later be merged with the other markers providing a collection of observations and examples that the assessor or moderator can view, add and refine prior to the results being released to the students.


In addition to the item comments the markers can also provide additional feedback via the Student Comments and Adjustments facility that is specific to a students.  These comments are only seen by that student.  This facility enables information regarding elements within their submission to be highlighted and if required an adjustment be made to the marks allocated.  The adjustment marks can be either add or remove marks from the student or simply be a comment with no adjustment applied.   The comments allow for areas within the marking guide that may be lacking to be addressed where required.  For example, a comment and associated adjustment can be applied where the submission was late, or perhaps marks are award to reward work that was supplied but not considered in the marking guide.  Each comment added is stored against the particular student and is also placed in a general repository where it can be reused if it is relevant to another student during the marking process.  A list of all comments made for all students is available for analysis.  


When all the marking is complete, comments made, the marker saves the marking and returns the marking project file to the principle assessor.  The marking project files are then merged into one marking project file ready for moderation, analysis, refinement then results distribution to the students.