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Variability in assessor responses to undergraduate essays

An issue for assessment quality in higher education

Sally Roisin O'Hagan

Academic standards in higher education depend on the judgements of individual academics assessing student work; it is in these micro-level practices that the validity and fairness of assessment is constituted. However, the quality of assessments of open-ended tasks like the coursework essay is difficult to ascertain because of the complex and subjective nature of the judgements involved. In view of current concerns about assessment quality and standards, this book is a timely reflection on the practices of academic judgement at university. It explores assessment quality through an empirical study of essay marking in an undergraduate discipline where large class sizes and significant numbers of second language students are common. The study shows that assessors vary in their interpretations of criteria and standards and that this results in inconsistent grading of essays. The book contributes to a growing scholarship of assessment with an evidence-based explanation of why assessors disagree and a discussion of the implications of this for the validity of assessment practices at university.
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Bibliographic information published by die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek

Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the Deutsche Nationalbibliografie; detailed bibliographic data is available on the Internet at ‹http://dnb.d-nb.de›.

British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data: A catalogue record for this book is available from The British Library, Great Britain

Library of Congress Control Number: 2014948238

This publication is supported by a Seeding grant from the School of Languages and Linguistics, University of Melbourne and a Publication Subsidy grant from the Faculty of Arts, University of Melbourne.

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