• In China, Han Civil Service exams began taking place around 115 AD.From at least 1370 these were in written form.• Candidates were placed in isolation cells for 72 hours. They wereprovided with food, water and bedding and lived in the cell for threedays, during which time they were required to attempt all the papers.• In order to ensure that the marker was not biased, students did notwrite their names on their scripts, but a code number.• So that the examiners could not recognise a students handwriting thecompleted scripts were transcribed by a third party before beingsubmitted for marking.• This style of exam was not finally abolished until 1909.
• In 1792, William Farish, Professor of Chemistry and NaturalPhilosophy at the University of Cambridge developed the concept ofgrading students work quantitatively.• With undergraduate numbers rising, the importance of properranking of students was growing.• Every examiner gave a numerical score to each response by everystudent and the overall total mark puts the students in the final rankorder.• Marking solved the problems of comparing a larger number ofstudents and limited unfair personal bias.
• To check students have acquired skills/competence• To ascertain whether students have developed understanding• To see whether students have developed new ideas/concepts• To confirm students are participating in expected activities• To affirm students are developing their identities as learners• To compare one student against another (current, historic or future)• To benchmark students against a norm or expectation• To allow students to improve their learning and self awareness• To highlight instructional deficits• To identify potential future development needs• To meet institutional/societal/political expectations• To justify the module/course as valid to current and future students• To demonstrate quality of teaching (and learning)• To satisfy criteria for financial recompense/reward• To transform individuals and institutions – students; tutors; society
1. Clarify what good performance is2. Encourage study time & effort, promoting a depth of understanding3. Deliver high-quality feedback to allow students to self-correct4. Identify gap between actual and desired performance5. Ensure a positive and developmental impact on learning6. Encourage learning dialogue (peer/peer; tutor/student)7. Facilitate self-assessment and reflection8. Give choice of assessment topic or mode9. Involve learners in defining assessment choices10. Support the development of learning communities11. Motivate and increase self-belief and self-esteem12. Shape future teachingREAP Principles, SFC/JISC Re-engineering Assessment Practices (2009)
Research indicates that improving learning through assessment dependson five, deceptively simple, key factors:• the active involvement of students in their own learning• the need for students to be able to self-assess their performance andunderstand how to improve• the provision of effective feedback• the recognition of the influence assessment and feedback has on themotivation and self-esteem of students• the adjusting of future teaching to take account of the results ofassessmentBlack, P & Wiliam, D (1999) Assessment for Learning: Beyond the Black Box
What do we need tothink about whenmarking assessments?
• What level is the assessment and what should I expect at that level?www.scqf.org.uk www.qaa.ac.uk• Is the assessment formative or summative?• Is the assessment Pass/Fail or graded?• What are the learning outcomes for the unit/module?• Is the assessment addressing all, or some, of the learning outcomes?• Is there an agreed marking/grading scheme?• Is there an expectation of generic and/or contextual learning?• Am I sole marking or one of a team marking this unit/module?• Am I marking positively or negatively; or a mixture of the two?