Mark my words: the role of assessment criteria in UK higher education grading practices

BLOXHAM, Sue, BOYD, Peter and ORR, Susan (2011). Mark my words: the role of assessment criteria in UK higher education grading practices. Studies in Higher Education, 36 (6), 655-670.

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Link to published version:: 10.1080/03075071003777716

Abstract

This article seeks to illuminate the gap between UK policy and practice in relation to the use of criteria for allocating grades. It critiques criterion-referenced grading from three perspectives. Twelve lecturers from two universities were asked to ‘think aloud’ as they graded two written assignments. The study found that assessors made holistic rather than analytical judgements. A high proportion of the tutors did not make use of written criteria in their marking and, where they were used, it was largely a post hoc process in refining, checking or justifying a holistic decision. Norm referencing was also found to be an important part of the grading process despite published criteria. The authors develop the notion of tutors’ standards frameworks, influenced by students’ work, and providing the interpretive lens used to decide grades. The implications for standards, and for students, of presenting the grading process as analytical and objective are discussed.

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Cultural Communication and Computing Research Institute > Art and Design Research Centre
Identification Number: 10.1080/03075071003777716
Depositing User: Helen Garner
Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2012 15:50
Last Modified: 20 Jan 2012 15:50
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/4420

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