Marking and moderation

  • As noted in the Regulations for Study (section 3), the University is committed to ensuring assessment enables students to show they have met the learning outcomes for their programme, through a variety of assessment methods, in line with the Assessment & Feedback Policy . Full details of assessment tasks, marking criteria, and arrangements for providing formative and summative feedback on assessed work must be provided in module and programme handbooks.

    The University also has a range of measures in place to ensure fairness in assessment and to protect the standards of its awards; including: anonymous marking for summative assessments, and the requirement that robust and transparent internal moderation processes are applied to all assessed work (for all assessment modes) submitted for the award of University credit. These measures apply in all Schools/Departments and all delivery locations, including partner organisations, although the format of marking and moderation processes may vary, according to local circumstances, the mode of assessment, and professional body requirements.

    Programme-level processes for internal moderation should be agreed (in line with the guidance in this chapter) through Subject Committees and approved by Faculty AESC/QLICs. Arrangements for internal moderation of collaborative programmes leading to Oxford Brookes awards, which must involve at least one member of University staff (usually the Liaison Manager), should be agreed with the partner organisation and clearly set out in the Operations Manual. The procedures which will be followed should be clearly communicated to students in programme/module handbooks, along with information on how marks will be allocated for each assessment task.

  • Anonymous marking is the practice of concealing the identity of the student who submitted the assessment from the staff member marking their work, until a mark has been agreed by the internal examiners.

    All summative assessment, including all summative assessment on programmes delivered through a collaborative partnership, must be marked anonymously, unless it is not possible for a specific form of assessment to be carried out anonymously. For all instances where anonymous marking is not possible, particular attention must be given to ensuring that assessment processes are fair; and they should be clearly described in module handbooks. As a minimum, all students must be informed when an assessment will not be marked anonymously.

    Examples of situations where the form of assessment may not allow for work to be marked anonymously include:

    • where the marker has closely supervised the work being marked (e.g. projects, dissertations, portfolios);
    • where assignment topics are individual or small group based (e.g. personal profiles, work placement activities, independent studies, groupwork activities);
    • where assessment is based on observation (e.g., oral presentations, video assignments, poster presentations, music recitals, exhibitions, oral language examinations, laboratory skills assessments);
    • where assessing a student’s competence to practice in a professional setting.

    There are also certain individual situations in which it may not be possible to mark a student’s work anonymously, for example: where a student has been granted an extension to a coursework deadline; or has a disability that entitles them to a reasonable adjustment of the format and/or deadline for coursework submissions; or in disciplinary cases referred by an Academic Conduct Officer. These cases differ to the exceptions noted above however, as they are personal exceptions and not variations from the expectation for anonymous marking across the student cohort.

    As far as possible, assessed work should be submitted electronically to facilitate anonymous marking. Where electronic submission is not possible, or nor practised, then the standard University Coursework Submission Sheet should be used.

    Once a mark has been agreed, the student’s identity may be revealed to the marker. If a piece of work is double-marked, the student’s identity may not be revealed to either marker until after the second marker has completed their assessment. This is to ensure that feedback on assessments can be personalised and tailored to that student. A mark should not be amended once a student’s identity has been revealed.

    Internal moderation of assessed work is the process of ensuring that assessment criteria are applied consistently by examiners, that students are being treated fairly through the assessment process, and that there is a shared understanding of the academic standards students are expected to achieve. Moderation is the process of ensuring that the marks awarded for an assessment task across a module are within reasonable limits, in the context of the criteria against which students’ work is being assessed.

    Moderation may be limited to sampling and second marking a representative number of pieces of assessed work across the marking range from a cohort of students; or it may involve second marking the work of the whole cohort (double marking). Second marking is the process in which a second allocation of marks is given to a piece of work by a second internal examiner (who may, or may not, be able to see the marks and comments of the first marker). Dissertations should always be ‘blind’ second marked.

    Timing

    The moderation of coursework marks should be completed within an appropriate timescale in order to allow for the timely return of agreed marks and feedback to students, consistent with the terms of the Assessment and Feedback Policy.

    The internal moderation process should normally be completed prior to the upload of marks onto the system for examination committees. Unmoderated marks must not be uploaded to the student record system, unless permission has been granted by the Programme Lead.

    Marks that have not been confirmed by an Examination Committee should not be issued to students, unless permission to do so has been granted by the Programme Lead. Assessed work that has been through the internal moderation process may be returned to students prior to the Examination Committee, on condition that the feedback sheet clearly informs them that the mark/grade given remains subject to confirmation.

    Procedure

    All completed assessments should be first marked independently by appropriately experienced members of the module teaching team. Evidence of marking and an indication of how the marks have been allocated should be shown on all assessments.

    For non-written forms of assessment, e.g. oral examinations, presentations, or recitals, at least two internal examiners should normally be involved in first marking the assessment and agreeing the final mark for each piece of work. The external examiner should have access to the agreed comments of the assessors, which should be provided as feedback to the student.

    If the internal moderation process for the module is based on double marking, all assessments should then be second marked.

    For modules employing a sampling approach to moderation, the internal moderator for the module (a member of academic staff other than the first marker/s) should then second mark a sample of completed assessments. Samples should:

    • be representative of every delivery location, and every mode of study;
    • be drawn from, and reflect, the full range of marks, including borderline cases and fail grades;
    • be of an appropriate size with respect to the size of the cohort (10%, whole cohort if it is less than 10);
    • include all components of the assessment for the module.

    If there is clear evidence from the sample selected that there are serious discrepancies in the marks being awarded, the Subject Coordinator or Programme Lead should arrange for all the assignments affected (either within a specified grade band, or the whole cohort) to be re-marked.

    Internal moderation policies must be clear about the procedure to be followed in order to resolve any disagreement between first and second markers and assign a final mark for a piece of work.

    Students should be provided with a single mark on their assessed work, as agreed by the internal examiners, and the feedback given on their performance in the assignment must be consistent with the final assigned mark.

    Reporting

    The Faculty (or School/Department) moderation policy should set out the requirements for reporting on the conduct and outcomes of the internal moderation process, including those applying to collaborative provision (which should be set out in individual Operations Manuals). Evidence that an internal moderation process has taken place must be available for scrutiny by external examiners (and other interested parties).

    The role of the external examiner is set out in the relevant section of the Quality & Standards Handbook . Where a sampling approach to internal moderation is adopted, the sample of work that is moderated may be the same sample sent to the external examiner. If the sample that is sent to the external examiner does not include any of the work that has been sampled through the internal moderation process (for example, where a random sample is selected from across the grade bands), they should be provided with additional information about the internal moderation process that has been followed.