Quality management

Anonymous marking

At Senate in April 2013 it was agreed that anonymous marking should be introduced for all summative assessment “where practical”.

people writing on paper with pencilsWe are introducing anonymous marking in order to reduce the perception of bias in the marking process. Examinations at the University have been conducted anonymously for many years and extending this expectation to coursework brings consistency to our assessment practices.

Anonymous marking applies primarily to the marking of an assignment. Where coursework is concerned, it may not be practical or desirable for anonymity to be in place, for instance when referring to Turnitin reports, providing feedback or for the inputting of marks.

The Students’ Union has campaigned for a number of years for anonymous marking. Feedback from students indicates that they feel more comfortable commenting on their programme and participating in class in the knowledge their performance, or any comments they make, will not impact on the final judgement of their work. We are also aware that in discursive assessments, students are more likely to take risks and show originality of thought, when work is marked anonymously.

Anonymous marking is intended to protect both staff and students from perceptions of bias. Research has shown that there are benefits and many UK universities are applying it.

Expectations for 2015/16

Anonymous marking was piloted in departments during 2014/15 and the outcomes of this pilot have helped to inform this year's implementation.

Your Faculty/School will determine the level of implementation expected for 2015/16. In order to implement anonymous marking successfully you will have to adapt current practices.

The e-learning team or your Faculty/School e-learning officer can provide additional advice and support on online submission and e-marking. Your Faculty/School will be able to provide advice on paper submissions.

Where it is clearly not practical, eg for presentations, some laboratory work etc, there is no expectation that marking be anonymous.

QA16 Assessment, Marking and Feedback has been updated with the basic expectations relating to anonymous marking. The statement includes an indicative list of the types of assessment which it may not be practical to mark anonymously.

Guidance materials

Based on feedback from academic and administrative staff, we have produced the following materials to assist you in marking anonymously:

Practices differ across the University and additional guidance may be available from your Department or Faculty: