Let’s stop the pretence of consistent marking: exploring the multiple limitations of assessment criteria

Bloxham, Susan, den Outer, Birgit, Hudson, Jane and Price, Margaret (2016) Let’s stop the pretence of consistent marking: exploring the multiple limitations of assessment criteria. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 41 (3). pp. 466-481.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02602938.2015.1024607

Abstract

Unreliability in marking is well documented, yet we lack studies that have investigated assessors’ detailed use of assessment criteria. This project used a form of Kelly’s repertory grid method to examine the characteristics that 24 experienced UK assessors notice in distinguishing between students’ performance in four contrasting subject disciplines: that is their implicit assessment criteria. Variation in the choice, ranking and scoring of criteria was evident. Inspection of the individual construct scores in a sub-sample of academic historians revealed five factors in the use of criteria that contribute to marking inconsistency. The results imply that, whilst more effective and social marking processes that encourage sharing of standards in institutions and disciplinary communities may help align standards, assessment decisions at this level are so complex, intuitive and tacit that variability is inevitable. We conclude that universities should be more honest with themselves and with students, and actively help students to understand that application of assessment criteria is a complex judgement and there is rarely an incontestable interpretation of their meaning.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education
Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge): SSH Titles
ISSN: 1469-297X
Departments: Faculty of Education, Arts and Business > Business, Law, Policing and Social Sciences
Pre 2016 Departments: Research Institute for Professional Learning in Education
Additional Information: Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education: author can archive post-print (ie final draft post-refereeing) on institutional repository or subject-based repository after a 18 months embargo. So embargo expired 23.09.16.
Depositing User: Anna Lupton
Date Deposited: 04 Feb 2016 15:57
Last Modified: 10 Feb 2017 13:25
URI: http://insight.cumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/1997

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