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Academic Protocol for Double-Marking

Introduction

This document sets out the University’s consolidated position on the subject of doublemarking. Academic regulations will refer to this Academic Protocol which applies to all taught provision in the University.

2. Double-marking

a) This is the process whereby a piece of work for 100% of the student cohort is marked by two or more examiners independently, in the first instance. In some cases, such as in the assessment of design work, double-marking may be carried out by more than two examiners and the evaluation would be done consultatively (see clause 5, process of double-marking). The purpose of double-marking is to provide additional assurance that the standards of marking for the respective work are at the appropriate level for the award, based on the respective marking descriptors.

b) Double-marking is different from the process of internal moderation because internal moderation is undertaken for a sample of the marked work to ensure there is consistency of marking across a cohort and between different markers. Doublemarking concerns the way in which marking is undertaken for all work. For a single cohort of students, there may be multiple ‘couples/duos’ of markers, acting to produce a single mark; for work which is double-marked, internal moderation (as with work which is single-marker assessed) serves to verify that there is consistency across the whole cohort.

3. Assessments subject to double-marking

a) The following assessments MUST be double-marked:

  • Undergraduate Final Year Project (normally worth 10 credits)
  • Postgraduate Taught Master’s dissertation (normally worth 20 credits)
  • Master of Research Thesis (normally worth 40 credits)

b) All items of assessment contributing to 100% of the available credit for these modules MUST be double-marked for 100% of the student cohort. This means that all components of the UG FYP must be double-marked.

c) The justification for double-marking these modules is that they contribute to a significant proportion of the available credit contributing to the final degree, thereby having significant consequences for the overall degree classification.

d) Any other assessment carrying 10 or more credits which contribute to the final degree MAY be double-marked.

4. Internal Moderation

ALL work which has been double-marked remains subject to internal moderation – see above for the justification of this. Internal moderation ensures consistency across a cohort; ‘couples’ of markers may be different for the relevant student cohort.

5. Process of double-marking

a) Under normal circumstances each marker assigned should mark the work independently and return a mark. For the evaluation of work which requires simultaneous and collaborative evaluation between markers, such as design project work, the mark would be decided in consultation;

b) Care should be taken to ensure that initial markers do not discuss the merits of the work with third parties to ensure that there are sufficient numbers of independent third markers available should the need arise;

c) Where there are fewer than 10 percentage points difference between the two marks for any item of assessment for the relevant module, the markers should discuss between them the merits of the work and agree a single mark;

d) Where there are 10 or more percentage points difference between the two marks for any item of assessment for the relevant module, or where the two markers cannot agree a single mark as described in c) above, a third marker will be appointed by the Head of Department (or nominee, normally the Departmental Examinations Officer);

e) The third marker must not have been involved in any previous discussion about the work and will be provided with a clean script and will return a mark which will then be used to determine the mark for the work based on either the average across all three marks or at some point between the marks of the first two markers. It is the role of the third marker, after discussion with the other two markers, after s/he has marked the work independently, to set the final mark. In this sense, the third marker marks the work independently but their evaluation of the work serves to resolve the variance between the two other marks.

f) The justification for this approach is that the purpose of double-marking is to provide additional assurance of the marking standards being applied. A third marker is brought in where there is a large discrepancy between the first two markers, but to place the third marker as the sole arbiter in determining the mark undermines the basic purpose of double-marking as it reverts the derivation of the mark to ‘single’ marker. The purpose of the third marker is to provide a further evaluation of the standard of the work because there is a significant variation in the opinion between the first two markers. By adding the third marker’s mark to the average will serve to balance out the marks provided by the first two markers. The purpose of discussion between all three markers is to provide transparency in the application of the academic judgement in the double-marking process. There should be some brief record of any discussion between the markers in this regard. Assessment Feedback Templates will be developed to facilitate this.

g) Work that has been assessed by a third marker should be provided for review by the external examiner and a third marking MUST be flagged in the Module Marking Report (MMR).

6. Marking by project/dissertation supervisors

a) The Final Year Project supervisor MAY be the first marker, though if possible, this should be avoided and care should be taken to ensure the markers have appropriate specialist knowledge of the project subject. Where there are two supervisors of the Final Year Project, normally the primary supervisor would act as first marker, but in establishing the mark of the first marker, the secondary supervisor may be consulted. The second marker must not be a member of the supervisory team.

b) It is recommended that Supervisors for the Postgraduate Taught Master’s Dissertation and Master of Research Thesis should NOT normally mark their supervisees’ work, and that independent markers should be assigned. However, where a Departmental Learning and Teaching Committee determines that a member of the supervisory team may contribute to the marking process, then this must apply to all students in the cohort. Where a member of the supervisory team does contribute to the marking process, the department must report this to Learning and Teaching Committee, and reflect it in the Annual Programme Review report.

c) The justification for this difference is the weighting placed on the research projects in the respective programmes. Consideration is made for the resourcing implications to find two markers who are not the student’s supervisor in the UG FYP. Consideration has been made to the perception of the conflict of interest in supervisors of postgraduate students marking their own supervisees’ work.


(Last review date: 4-Dec-17)

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