Building a community of practice to improve inter marker standardisation and consistency

Instituto Superior de Engenharia de Lisboa
Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Proceedings of SEFI 2011 Annual Conference: Global Engineering Recognition, Sustainability, Mobility, 2011, pp. 666 - 671
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Over several years the authors have coordinated engineering subjects, with large cohorts of up to 300+ students. In each case, lectures were supported by tutorials. In the larger subjects it was not uncommon to have in excess of 10 tutors, where each tutor is responsible for grading the assessment tasks for students in their tutorial. A common issue faced by lecturers of large multiple tutor subjects is how to achieve a consistent standard of marking between different tutors. To address this issue the authors initially used a number of methods including double-blind marking and remarking. This process was improved by using the benchmarking tool in SPARKPLUS [1] to compare both the grading and feedback provided by different tutors for a number of randomly selected project tasks. In these studies we found that while students' perception of difference in grading was not unfounded, the problem was exacerbated by inconsistencies in the language tutors use when providing feedback. In this paper, we report using new SPARKPLUS features developed as a result of this previous research to quickly establish and build a community of practice amongst subject tutors. We found that in just one session these processes assisted tutors to reach a higher level of shared understanding of the concepts and practices pertinent to the subject assessment activities. In addition, it enabled tutors to gain an appreciation of the grading issues frequently reported by students. This resulted in not only improving both the understanding and skills of tutors but changing the way they both marked and provided feedback.
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