Marking Tips

It depends on your position how involved you are in setting and marking assessment tasks. Here are few basic suggestions that can make the task of marking more manageable for you, and fairer for your students.

Assessment activities, and the provision of feedback on formative assessment undertaken during the semester, are important parts of a cycle that helps students develop their knowledge and prepare for future learning activities at UNSW and beyond.

At the end of each semester, teachers use summative assessment to quantify a student's progress and determine his or her academic standing, which in turn determines whether the student is ready for future learning activities.

"Marking" is a process indivisible from assessment and embedded within particular disciplines. The marking process for any piece of student work needs to be understood within that context. In some cases, marking represents an objective summary of a student's performance as compared to an established answer set. In these cases, it is possible to construct a detailed marking scheme outlining "correct" or "model" answers to set questions. At other times marking involves the exercise of academic and/or professional judgement of student performance against broad marking criteria.

Marking Tips

In these 2 videos, teachers talk about clear communication in marking, and about mentoring and sharing experiences of marking.


TIM Collegial Marking

Payment for marking

As set out in Schedule 2 of the UNSW (Academic Staff) Enterprise Agreement 2011 your hourly rate of pay for lecturing or tutoring includes payment for "any marking which occurs during the delivery of the class" - (e)(iv).

Marking beyond this, including marking of subject-wide or course-wide examinations, essays or other assessment tasks, will be paid at the appropriate hourly marking rate as set out in Schedule 2, section 4 of the agreement.  

If you have any queries in relation to the marking component of your contract, contact your course coordinator or supervisor.

Further information on casual employment at UNSW can be found in Section 19 of the agreement. 

Policy on marking

Importance of marking

Marking is an important process. It provides a judgment of how well students have completed an assessment task.

The resulting marks are then used for feedback, for formative and summative assessment, and for decisions on progression and awards. Hence it is important that marking yields what can be defended in suitable ways as the "right" marks. The present marking policy is directed towards summative assessment.

Marks are considered to be "right" when they are awarded fairly and consistently across a cohort of students.

Professionalism in marking

Let us assume that the assessment task has been properly designed relative to the intended learning outcomes, is clearly expressed to the student and has been approved by the Faculty. Each task is supported by appropriate guidance for the marker on the expected answer and what would constitute different levels of performance.

Once marking begins, primary reassurance that the mark is "right" comes from the professional expertise of the marker, who will normally be the teacher of the material.

Marks awarded for summative assessment must be the responsibility of a duly appointed member of academic teaching staff. Marking done by others, such as visitors not appointed as visiting lecturers or Graduate Teaching Assistants, must be overseen by a member of teaching staff.

Anonymous marking

Anonymous marking helps reassure students and others that marking is fair. For this reason, work should be marked anonymously wherever possible. This clearly excludes tasks such as performances and presentations, but is required for all formal written examinations.

Checking marks

Schools should adopt procedures to check that all sections of each piece of assessed work have been marked, that partial marks have been totalled correctly and that total marks have been transferred correctly to marks lists. These procedures may be appropriately undertaken by administrative staff, but queries that arise must be referred to the academic in charge of the assessment.

Marking criteria

Students should be given clear marking criteria or grade descriptors with the assessment task description. This will:

  • provide a link between the assessment and the learning outcomes
  • provide consistency in your marking
  • inform students and make providing feedback easier
  • guide students and allow them to demonstrate achievement at different levels
  • help you to distinguish between different levels of achievement
  • encourage open communication about your expectations of the task.

Clear and effective marking criteria and grade descriptors are integral to the whole process of learning and teaching.

Grading codes and what they mean