From pen and paper to onscreen marking, the biggest impact is on educators’ time by reducing administrative work. However, there are other benefits of e-marking for students as well.
The workload of marking is often challenging, even for the best-organised individuals amongst us. Not only that it is a very time-consuming process for both academics and university administrators, but it also has other disadvantages such as delays in results communications; often overwhelming and redundant amounts of paperwork that needs to be physically shared and archived which demands even more resources; difficulties in organising distributed, moderated or external marking; inconsistent quality assurance; insufficient, illegible or even missing feedback to students.
With the growing interest in quality and quantity of feedback to students, in addition to the traditional setting of marks and grades – the fact is that boosting marking efficiency is a teachers’ objective that crosses borders, subjects, curriculums, and educational formats.
E-marking, also known as onscreen marking, is designed as a solution that alleviates the strain on people’s time posed by marking and associated costs, whilst not compensating at the expense of the student experience.
Inspera Assessment is committed to providing state-of-the-art marking environment, as one of the key parts of its assessment solution. They are always trying to understand their HE partners’ motivation and benefits when transitioning from a traditional pen-and-paper process to e-marking, and there are many. Here are some of the main benefits they have discovered along the way.
- Automation: Auto-marking features can do the job of checking multiple-choice questions or any other question types with pre-defined answers, dramatically reducing the workload for the marker;
- Communication: Feedback to students is made without having to navigate away from the learner’s submission, and without the bias of teacher’s handwriting; annotations can be private or shared with selected learners or other markers; hence keeping the focus not only on giving a qualification but also on the individual learner’s needs.
- Double-blind marking: In ‘double-blind’ marking, neither marker is aware of the other’s assessment decision in formulating their own mark.
- Accessibility: No bias in learners’ handwriting and easy readability by markers; enabling the inclusion of all students in the same exam process;
- Plagiarism: Built-in anti-plagiarism tools give an instant percentage of the originality estimate, replacing the long procedure of checking the handwritten responses.
- Logistics: No more papers being shifted from place to place; support for the remote working of markers;
- Security: Exams submitted from a secure environment such as Inspera SEB help prevent cheating, and having marking and grading stored online acts to mitigate lost exam papers.
In order for online assessment to be successful, it is imperative that students have a positive experience when taking their exams. For example, Victoria University of Wellington has conducted a student survey in 2019, which shows that students in New Zealand are both ready for and happy with digital exams with Inspera Assessment. The students believe that digital exams are an important initiative that Victoria University of Wellington should continue to expand:
- 80% of students either ‘strongly agree’ or ‘agree’ that they would recommend digital exams to other students;
- 71% of students either ‘strongly agree’ or ‘agree’ that exams at Victoria University of Wellington should be digital.
The university sponsors of the initiative were pleased to see the high participation rates across all seven courses involved in the pilot. Professor Mark Hickford, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Dean of Law, says: “Given that, for the vast majority of students – 99% to be precise – this was the first time they had taken a digital exam as well as the first time we as a university had even trialled digital exams, receiving such a positive response is simply remarkable.”
The satisfaction of students seems to be related to their experience of digital examinations and feedback.
- 85% of the students thought their exam experience on the day of the exam was either ‘good’, ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’ (with 39% of the students choosing ‘excellent’);
- 87% of the students thought their overall digital exam experience was either ‘good’, ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’ (with 39% of the students choosing ‘excellent).
Victoria University of Wellington continues to experience strong support and demand from the student body on the digital exam initiative with Inspera Assessment platform. Inspera Assessment is a secure cloud-based e-assessment platform that covers the entire examination process from initial question creation to exam delivery and collaborative marking. At Inspera, they have over a decade’s worth of experience partnering with institutions to manage their transition to digital exams, in all subjects, from STEM to arts. They work in partnership with universities, schools, awarding bodies and governments, serving end-users in more than 150 countries. Our offices are in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Romania. You can learn more on the website.
Appropriate assessment is a key driver for learning design. Online learning brings new opportunities and challenges that Business Schools must negotiate. Join the EOCCS community webinar which brings together representatives from Proctoring organisations offering different online solutions to the online assessment. Save yourself a spot and register now to have better orientation in the online learning space!