Getting to yes - Agreeing research project marks without tears

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Authors
Davies, Kathryn
Birchmore, Roger
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Date
2008
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Conference Contribution - Paper in Published Proceedings
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assessment
supervision
research project
rubric
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Citation
Davies, K., and Birchmore, R. (2008). Getting to yes - Agreeing research project marks without tears. Auckland. In Proceedings of 2008 Conference of the Australasian Universities Building Education Association (AUBEA). CD Rom Auckland.
Abstract
One of the challenges facing the management of undergraduate research projects is achieving and maintaining consistency in the marking process. High staff turnover, the introduction of new academics to supervisory teams and the desire to benchmark internationally exacerbate the challenge. The current assessment process within the Unitec Bachelor of Construction programme requires the student project first to be marked by the student’s supervisor. This is then followed by second, independent marking of all the student assignments by an external academic. When significant variation of marks occurs and post-marking negotiation between the markers cannot achieve agreement, a third independent marker is utilised. This paper outlines the development of an assessment rubric intended to provide clear standards and goals for both students and supervisors. The introduction of a rubric is intended to reduce the number of times significant variation in marks is experienced between markers. In cases where variation still occurs, the use of a rubric serves to define the problem and clarify the marking expectations. This assists with the negotiation process between the first and second markers, ideally removing the need for a third marker in most instances. In the most difficult of cases, negotiation will be required between three markers. Again, the use of the rubric allows a clear statement of the issues under discussion and the areas of divergence, allowing the participants to focus on reaching a satisfactory outcome.
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