Latest research| July, 2015

Let’s stop marking exams

Pollitt,A.(2004, September). Let’s stop marking exams. Paper presented at the IAEA Conference, Philadelphia.

In this paper I will propose an alternative method for carrying out summative
assessment, one that seems to be intrinsically more valid than the familiar
procedure of awarding marks to lots of questions, little or large, and adding
them up to get a student’s total mark or score.

Although the new approach may seem radical it is rooted in the psychophysics
of the 1920s; practical considerations have, however, made it impossible to apply the
procedures in this way until now. I shall argue that the method brings us much closer to the essential purpose of summative assessment and that, although many concerns still need to
be addressed, there are enormous advantages to be gained.

I begin by considering the quantitative theories that are supposed to underpin the business
of certifying educational achievement.

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