Shaping the next Generation of National Qualifications: e-marking

Background

Appointee Management

Since 2011, SQA has worked in partnership with RM Education to develop, tailor and implement the ‘scoris assessor’ e-marking system.

In 2014, most of the National 5 Question Papers (scripts) and Coursework assessments were marked in this way.

SQA is committed to e-marking and maximising its use because of the benefits to Markers, candidates and SQA.

Marking from Paper (MFP)

This means that once the candidates have sat their exam, or submitted their coursework, their assessments will be sent securely to Markers who will use their home computer to record marks allocated, absentees and receipt and despatch of materials.

Marking from Image (MFI)

This means that once the candidates have sat their exam, their scripts will be scanned and the electronic images made available to Markers to mark on screen using their home computers.

What are the benefits?

to the Marker:

  • scoris assessor is an intuitive marking system with rich functionality, it aids direct support from, and communication with, Team Leaders and Principal Assessors and makes more efficient use of marking time
  • it allows Markers to focus on the marking task at hand, without being distracted by the physical handling of paper scripts
  • there is no script handling or clerical work needed

to the candidate:

  • e-marking significantly reduces the likelihood of clerical errors such as marks aggregation
  • candidate submissions are marked anonymously and are randomly distributed across the marking team
  • the quality assurance model ensures that marking is consistent with the national standard across the cohort of candidates

to SQA:

  • e-marking has a robust front-loaded quality assurance model that checks that all Markers can apply the national standard prior to marking live scripts
  • scoris assessor automatically returns marks, making managing the marking process more efficient
  • it provides more quality control and visibility over and throughout the whole marking process
  • it provides item level marks to inform grade boundary decisions
  • it is environmentally friendly because it reduces the number of script journeys and procedural meetings

What support is available?

Team Leaders

Team Leaders have approximately eight Markers to look after. Markers mark a series of Practice, Qualification and in the case of MFI, Seeded Scripts - these help to identify if any Marker needs additional support. Markers need never be stuck, as they can also seek clarification as they work through their scripts.

scoris assessor

The system has an inbuilt messaging function to aid communication between Markers and Team Leaders. It also allows Markers and Team Leaders to view the same response at the same time, enabling them to discuss and determine the appropriate mark or course of action. The messaging system can also be used by the Principal Assessor and SQA to communicate key messages to the whole marking team during the marking period.

Online training

SQA Academy hosts a comprehensive e-marking training course which provides mixed media training and guidance on the use of scoris assessor and the e-marking quality assurance processes. Markers will be able practice and apply this training using the ‘familiarisation’ mode within scoris assessor.

E-marker helpdesk

Markers can ask for assistance by phone or by e-mail from SQA’s experienced e-marking helpdesk staff to resolve any technical issues. The helpdesk operates seven days a week both in the lead up to and throughout the marking period.

What about Quality Assurance?

E-marking: Marking from Image — has a robust, front-loaded quality assurance process which checks that Markers understand the marking instructions, can apply them accurately and consistently, and therefore can mark to the national standard prior to marking live candidate responses.

The quality assurance process begins with giving Markers a number of Practice and Qualification responses/scripts which have been selected and definitively marked by the Principal Examiner (and confirmed by Team Leaders). Markers will ‘blind’ mark these scripts online and when submitted, scoris assessor provides them with targeted feedback to show where marks are the same, are within an acceptable degree of variance, or are not in line with definitive marks.

A similar approach is used during live marking to gauge if Markers marking standards are being maintained throughout the marking period. Seeded scripts are randomly planted at intervals in the script feeding process and, again, have been pre-marked by the Principal Assessor. Once Markers have marked and submitted these they will get more feedback on the accuracy of their marking.

Could you help shape the next generation?

E-marking offers Markers direct support from, and communication with, Team Leaders and the Principal Assessors.

This results in a more efficient use of marking time. It also means that there is no script handling or clerical work needed; Markers can simply focus on the important task of marking assessments.

You may also be interested in viewing the e-marking case studies or wish to find out what opportunities there are to get involved.