Monday, July 20, 2009

Improving Speed of Marking

For some years I have been setting a practice exercise in Contemporary Issues in Accounting requiring the preparation of financial statements using CPP, CCA and CoCoA. This exercise has been resonable successful in achieving the outcomes I have been seeking. The downside of this assignment is that it is a bitch to mark. There are about 100 different figures I need to check and, if the student has it wrong, the calculations that resulted in that figure. It was taking me over an hour to mark each assignment and I was getting about 50 submissions a semester. This marking effort was untenable and, as a result, it was taking many weeks for me to get the marks back to the students.

To fix this marking problem, this semester I have changed things so in addition to the usual spreadsheet submitted by students, they also have to submit the key figures from the assignment through a Moodle quiz. There are about 130 figures that will need to enter which they will be instructed to do through copying from their spreadsheet and pasting in the quiz. With this method of submission, I can release marks as soon as submissions close.

The downsides of this approach include:
  • I can no longer award partial marks for working
  • Students may be penalised for data entry errors
  • It took me over 30 hours to set it up
  • I had to determine the error range acceptable on a priori grounds which may give me both Type 1 and Type 2 errors
I will evaluate this method after I have returned the marks to guage students' responses to the change and how they perceive the trade-off.

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