Exam awarding bodies and government education departments across the world are increasingly adopting onscreen (e-marking) in favour of traditional pen and paper marking.

In this week’s blog post we ask: is onscreen marking ghoulishly delightful or hair-raisingly frightful?

Sweet treats

  • It can help improve security: The original transcripts no longer need to be posted to examiner’s house, or driven in the back of a car, as the digital files are transferred securely online. This reduces the risk of paper scripts going missing or getting lost in transit.
  • It can improve the quality assurance of marking: E-marking systems can help you monitor the quality and consistency of marking, via seed scripts that are added to the examiner’s task list. The marks awarded on these scripts are compared to the awarding body’s pre-determined scores set by the principal examiner, helping to ensure that examiners are marking within tolerance of the mark scheme.
  • Onscreen marking helps enhance transparency: You can see exactly where marks have been awarded thanks to on-screen annotations. Team leaders can also track the progress and status of scripts being marked by their examiners at any given time, identifying and managing any potential issue that may arise.
  • It cuts down on human error: If an examiner misses a question or miscalculates the total number of marks, for example, they’ll get an alert before they can proceed.
  • It is flexible: Day or night, examiners can complete their marking at a time and place that suits them, around their own personal schedule.

Double, double toil and trouble

  • It requires investment to initially set up: If your infrastructure is outmoded you may have to spend money to upgrade it. Furthermore, learning how to use the system can cost time and money.
  • You need to ensure that your examiners have access to a computer, and a secure internet connection: To be able to use e-marking, your examiners need to have access to a device that meets the minimum requirement to use the software. Secure internet access with sufficient bandwidth to download and view scripts on their system will also be important.
  • It’s a bit more complicated than using a red pen: Traditional pen and paper marking is typically done using a simple red pen writing, where examiners tick or cross the answers and tally the results. With onscreen marking, there are a few more steps involved and your examiners and employees will need some training and support to understand how the software works and how to fully realise the benefits that onscreen marking can bring.

For more fang-tastic advantages to adopting e-marking, download a free copy of our infographic ‘The benefits of e-marking’.