Posted tagged ‘examination correction’

Assessments and examinations at risk

January 31, 2011

As governments in a number of countries try to square the circle of rising higher education participation rates and budget (and therefore faculty) cuts, one thing in particular should be borne in mind: the risk to the quality of exam and assignment correction. Only academics can really know the burden that descends on them at certain times of the year, when large numbers of papers have to be corrected and scored in a very short space of time, and detailed feedback provided for students. And while it is possible (though undesirable) to cram more students into a hall to hear a lecture, when these students produce examination papers, essays and projects the volume of this material may overwhelm the declining number of academics who have to carry out the corrections.

Initially, the risk is not that the job will not be done, but rather that it will be done too hastily. In the longer run the quality of the higher education experience is at risk.

When I was still teaching actively I always enjoyed and was greatly stimulated by the teaching. But even then I found exam correction a source of great pressure, both because of the numbers involved and because I was very aware of the responsibility that rested on me when I was doing this. As governments continue to push for greater participation in higher education while cutting the resources, they are creating a quality risk that will, in the end, have serious consequences.


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