Policy on Anonymous Assessment The following statement is designed to clarify the University’s position on anonymous marking. 1 The University recognises that in the interests of fairness and transparency, anonymous assessment should, as a general principle, be adopted by faculties and collaborative partners, wherever it is appropriate, feasible and practical, in keeping with Principle 6 of the University’s Assessment Policy. Anonymity is recognised by the University to be a positive attribute of the assessment process, and to be in the interests of both students and academic staff. 2 The intention of this policy is to implement anonymity within the assessment system wherever this can be achieved and it contributes to fairness. The policy is intended to be inclusive and equitable, in the spirit of the University Assessment Policy, Principle 5. It is recognised, however, that this policy cannot protect the anonymity of all students in all circumstances. Specific exceptions to the policy are listed below (3). In addition to these exceptions, it is acknowledged that an anonymous script will in certain cases be recognised by an assessor as the work of a particular student. Identification may be due to the particular circumstances of the assessment – eg the only coursework in a cohort which is submitted late due to extenuating circumstances. Or it may occur as a result of the particular way in which a student approaches the work – eg. the expression of personal views, or use of idiosyncratic vocabulary. It is not possible, nor is it the intention of this policy, to legislate to prevent awareness of the identification of students by the assessor in these circumstances. But it is intended that in as many assessment situations as possible, the student will not be identifiable by name on the work at the point when it is being assessed. 3 In practice, it is expected that : i) anonymous marking is required for all credit-bearing examinations; ii) anonymous marking should be adopted for all coursework which is both assessed and credit bearing, with the following exceptions: a) where the assessment takes the form of a practical demonstration performed in the presence of examiners eg. oral examinations, clinical practice, performances; b) where it is intended that summative assessment should take some account of the formative process over a period of time, which has been supported by a supervisor or tutor eg. e-learning projects, dissertations, portfolios, PG research projects; c) where an enquiry takes place into the possibility that an academic offence may have taken place, and it becomes essential to convene a meeting with the student as part of that enquiry. 4 Should special circumstances arise requiring the approval of any further exceptions, this approval must be sought from the relevant SQC and reported to FQEC. Where assessment on a module is exempt from anonymity, this information should be published for students in Programme and Module Handbooks. Where anonymous marking is not possible due to one or more of the considerations listed above, academic teams should consider going beyond the standard internal moderation requirements, such as double marking, especially for those modules that form a major part of the final award. 5 In cases of students with disabilities which are subject to a support plan which imposes specific requirements on the assessment process, it is expected that during the assessment procedure the nature of these requirements will be conveyed to the assessors, but the name of the student will be withheld. 6 The advantage of anonymity in the assessment process should not detract from the importance of providing effective feedback to students on their assessed work. The anonymity of the assessment process should therefore be imposed at the point of examination / coursework submission, and lifted as soon as the internal moderation process is completed, for the purposes of student feedback. 7 Guidelines on the implementation of this policy should be drawn up and approved by Academic Board. In addition, students should be made fully aware of this policy. 8 Partner institutions will also be expected to apply the policy, and should be asked to formulate their own implementation strategy, for approval by the relevant FQEC. They may, however, be allowed to submit a case for exception to the University Registrar / Director of QED. 9 Both this policy and the implementation guidelines should be reviewed after 12 months, and thereafter in line with review of the University’s Assessment Policy, to ensure that they are making a positive contribution to the fairness and transparency of the University’s assessment system, and to the quality of student feedback.
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