UoC aims to tick the right boxes

Submission Papers

The University of Cumbrias’ Student Union has compiled a list of the top ten issues that they want to see change before the tuition fees rise in the next academic year.

The topical issue of Feedback and Assessment is on this list and it is closely linked with the anonymous marking scheme that the UoC has recently engaged with.

The SU is currently looking at getting the 25-day turnaround period from submitting work to hearing feedback reduced to 20 days.

There have been times students have been waiting up to five weeks to hear back about a piece of work.

Lorri Millar, the academic sabbatical for the UCSU says: “It’s scary how many students are coming back to us saying it’s taking far too long to hear back from their lecturers on their last piece of work.”

In many other institutions when work is submitted, lecturers are getting back to the students with feedback sessions within 15 days.

It is also known that a number of students are actually against the handwritten feedback. The handwriting is sometimes not legible and students favor face-to-face verbal feedback.


What’s the plan?

This year, the university is starting anonymous marking pilots on selected courses to see how successful it is. Providing that the results are positive, anonymous marking may be applied to other courses in the future.

Anonymous marking has been campaigned for by the National Union of Students since 1999. The UoC has named its own anonymous marking campaign ‘Mark My Words Not My Name’.

Ben Wohl, the Communications and Research Community Officer for the UCSU explained: “Anonymous marking is a project we are really trying to push forward because it’s necessary for the students.”

Despite the UoC trying to adopt anonymous marking, it is doing so to reassure the students, not because it believes that there is unfairness in marking.

It will also protect members of staff against any accusations from unsatisfied students with their marks.

The SU admits it will not be possible for all assessments to be marked anonymously as there will be areas of courses, such as practical assessments and dissertation, where the student’s identity is clearly known.

“The work which can be marked anonymously will be so there isn’t the element of prejudice”, added Ben.


Will you be effected?

Anonymous marking is currently being tested over three faculties: Health and Well-being, Education and ABS (Arts, Business and Science).

20% of written assignments are going to be anonymously marked and the evaluation of the pilot runs will be conducted with the students and staff.

Lorri Millar is hopeful for the anonymous marking scheme: “Students with the premonition that they are being unfairly marked know that the Student Union is campaigning the best it can for that to change. I hope it will be quite successful.”

From the admission process through to final assessments, it is expected that each and every student should have a fair and equal opportunity to do the best they can throughout university.

Students are spending thousands of pounds on higher education so a reasonable expectation of coming to university is to have work marked correctly.

Filed Under: UCSU


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