On-screen essay marking is reliable

On-screen essay marking is reliable

Examiners can mark essays just as reliably on screen as they can in the traditional paper mode – if properly done, according to a recent Cambridge Assessment study.

This has important implications for assessment. Existing literature suggested that readers’ comprehension of texts might be weaker when extended texts, such as essays, are read on screen and might influence assessors’ judgements about the quality of the essay.

At a time when the role and impact of technology in education generates continuous debate it is imperative that e-assessment solutions are robust, reliable and valid. Educational research such as this therefore plays a vital role in the continuous improvement of education and assessment policies and practices.

Although examiners appeared to work harder on-screen to achieve similar outcomes to paper marking, others felt energised by particular aspects of on-screen marking, for example 'seeing the scripts off by a click'.  Further details about the study can be found in the June 2009 issue of Research Matters.

The study was one of seven Cambridge Assessment papers presented at this year's British Educational Research Association (BERA) annual conference at the University of Manchester in early September 2009.

The team’s presentations – on a wide range of issues – generated a lot of interest and led to some fruitful discussions within the research community.  The full abstracts can be found in our Research section, or through the links to the left of this page.

Cambridge Assessment has supported the BERA Annual Conference for many years. Like BERA, we believe that educational research plays a vital role in the continuous improvement of education and assessment policies and practices.

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