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Marking centrally-managed assessments

Key guidelines and details of training for UCL staff responsible for marking centrally-managed assessments in AssessmentUCL.

For 2021 centrally-managed exams, staff have the option to mark within AssessmentUCL or download your exam scripts and mark offline. 

Since the start of the April exam period, AssessmentUCL has enabled 95% of students on 24-hour exams and 93% of students on a timed exam to submit on time. These results are consistent with UCL’s traditional face-to-face examinations.  

Marking is well underway for many modules, but if you are yet to start or still unsure about the options available, below are some key reminders for marking centrally-managed exams in 2021.

Please note: a small number of modules are piloting greater functionality of the AssessmentUCL platform; the guidance below does not relate to these modules. Please check with your Faculty Learning Technology Lead if you are unsure whether you are marking a module as part of the pilot. 

Marking options

There is no requirement to use a particular platform or method for marking exams in 2021, so there is considerable flexibility for departments to use processes that work best for them. The only requirement is that final grades need to be stored in Portico, UCL’s student records system.  

We suggest the following menu of options for departments to build on, if they so choose: 

  • Markers mark scripts on AssessmentUCL using the available annotation and markup tools; 
  • Departments download PDF copies of scripts from AssessmentUCL, which can be annotated using PDF annotation software on a computer or tablet device; 
  • Markers review the scripts on-screen using AssessmentUCL, but keep a ‘marker file’ or notes and comments on the marking process outside of AssessmentUCL; 
  • Markers print the scripts and mark physical copies, then scan them for storage or keep them for return to their department. 

If you haven’t done so already, it is worth having a conversation as a department and/or marking team on which option you will use. These options are further explored in our written and video guides

Training relevant to markers, moderators, administrators and Exam Liaison Officers  (ELOs) is still running (see training dates and join link below). 

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Marking in AssessmentUCL

Accessing exam scripts

Exam scripts can be accessed 24 hours after the exam closes to students.

The 24-hour delay allows for all students to submit their timed exams and for Turnitin similarity reports to be generated.  

Staff access to exams is based on information provided when the exam paper was submitted in March. We understand marking allocations can change and new markers join, so if you need access to an exam please email examinations@ucl.ac.uk

Marker tools

The AssessmentUCL platform allows markers to enter in-line annotations, comments and marks. Multiple markers can concurrently mark the same script, and double blind and open second marking workflows are supported.  

However, there are no rubrics, marking forms or re-useable comments for exam marking in 2021. As well, markers and moderators have access to all scripts, from which a sample can be identified. Assigning staff to a sample will be supported on the platform in future years.

Checking your role in the platform

When you login to AssessmentUCL, you will see a row of tabs showing the roles you have access to. Check you are on the correct tab before you access your exams. 

The 'Assessor' or 'Marker' role allows the user to mark scripts.  AssessmentUCL does not distinguish between first or second markers, so this must be coordinated between markers.  

The 'Reviewer' or 'Moderator' role allows the user to view submissions and marking. This role allows: 

  • Administrators and ELOs to monitor the progress of marking, and/or download scripts;   
  • Second “check” markers to check first marking i.e. where the second marker checks first marking without needing to provide their own mark; 
  • Module Leads to agree marks on AssessmentUCL;  
  • External Examiners to review marking. 

It's also possible to have both the 'Assessor' and 'Reviewer' role on the one exam  and your role/s may change from one exam to the next.

Agreeing marks

Only the Module Lead or Exam Liaison Officer (ELO) can agree marks.

To enable the central setup of 1000s of exams in 2021, only the Module Lead and ELO have been assigned the permission to agree marks. For certain modules this will make sense. For others, such as team-based marking of large cohort exams where the Module Lead doesn't mark all scripts, it may be possible for the Module Lead to facilitate the agreeing of marks (see a potential solution) or it may be more appropriate to record marks outside the platform.

In future, different staff can be given the ability to enter agreed marks and this can be tailored to department and/or module.  

First, second and agreed marks can be recorded separately on AssessmentUCL. Currently only one mark is recorded when a grade is changed i.e. only the final version of the first, second and agreed mark are displayed. If, say, an agreed mark is revised, only the revised version of the mark is visible to staff.  Mark changes will need to be recorded either on AssessmentUCL using comments, or outside the platform until a platform audit tool is implemented.

Generating Excel marksheets

Excel marksheets can be generated to help coordinate marking.

Depending on the marking approach you decide, the ability to export a marksheet may help with coordinating marking, identifying a sample, and performing mark calculations. All markers can export and import a list of candidates and their own marks. The Module Lead or the ELO can export and import all the marking from different markers and the agreed mark in the Reviewer role. Further explanation is provided in the written and video guides.

Word counts are indicative

AssessmentUCL provides a word count to markers. However, there is no standard word counting algorithm and its word count can differ from Micrsoft Word.  Students have been asked to include the word count on their cover sheet. It is worth cross-checking the different word count metrics before applying any penalties.

External Examiner support

External Examiners will be able to login to AssessmentUCL with their standard UCL credentials. From the 'Reviewer' role, they can view all exam scripts, and all marking including annotations, comments, and the first, second and agreed mark. They can also search by candidate number to access specific scripts and thereby identify a sample. See External Examiner guidance for more information. 

Exporting annotated scripts for the External Examiner is possible although annotated scripts can only be exported one at a time, and it is necessary to export both the submission and the annotations as two separate documents (see Download annotated submission guidance). 

If you plan for your External Examiner to review scripts on AssessmentUCL, and you would like to request training for your External Examiner, please contact assessment@ucl.ac.uk

Automatic mark integration

Automatic mark integration with Portico is under development.

In future, agreed marks will be automatically transferred from AssessmentUCL to Portico. In 2021, this process remains manual. Either the Module Lead or ELO can export marks from AssessmentUCL and transfer them to a Portico A26/27 spreadsheet for upload to Portico. This process is similar to the current process of transferring marks to Portico and so your ELO and department administrators are likely to be familiar with the steps required.

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Future development of AssessmentUCL

AssessmentUCL will continue to evolve. This year the experience of marking exams may still feel quite manual. Many tasks including allocating markers to questions, sampling and calculating final marks from component marks will be possible within the platform in future years. The project team is also working closely with the supplier to introduce enhancements that can improve the marking experience. You can learn more about the project on the AssessmentUCL project webpage

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Further support and training events

For details of the step-by-step guidance and training events, see AssessmentUCL training and support.

For questions related to marking, please contact Digital Education.

For other exam queries, please contact the Exams Team

For questions or suggestions for the AssessmentUCL project, please contact the project team.

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