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Aug 24, 2004

AQA and WJEC successfully pioneer DRS e-Marker® technology

DRS e-Marker® technology has been successfully deployed for both WJEC and AQA summer exam papers. AS and GCSE papers have been marked using a combination of electronic marking from images and paper scripts, both of which have enabled the marks to be captured at home using examiners’ home PCs, ensuring results are more accurate and available much quicker.

The e-Marker® technology, designed by education data capture specialist DRS, enabled over 300 examiners for AQA and 19 examiners for the WJEC to mark scripts at home and send the results directly into the awarding bodies central processing systems. A senior AQA examiner who used the electronic marking technology said “I found it much better than using the original paper method. There were no problems entering marks and it was much easier for entering marks for late changes.” Another commented “I found the process straightforward and would certainly be glad to continue in future sessions.”

Over 320 examiners used the e-Marker® technology at home to mark approximately 156,000 exam papers for the top awarding bodies. WJEC pioneered the use of Computer Marking from Image in its live GCSE ICT examinations held in May this year. 19 examiners took part in the project which involved over 6,000 scripts from around 200 centres, some written in English and others in Welsh Language.

Derec Stockley, Director of Examinations for the WJEC said “The computer marking from image technology enabled us for the first time in Wales, to distribute images of scripts to those examiners involved in this project, saving us a significant amount of time in the marking and monitoring processes. The AS Computing and GCSE ICT computer marking project was very successful and proved to be highly accurate.”

AQA used the e-Marker® technology to electronically capture the marks from approximately 150,000 GCSE scripts. Over 300 examiners marked the scripts at home but entered the marks directly into their PCs, and transferred the marks awarded straight into AQA’s processing system.

When commenting on the successful electronic marking project, AQA’s Director General Mike Cresswell said “We are approaching the use of new marking technology in a positive and measured way and are planning on phasing it in for all our examiners over the next three years. We will expect to collect over 2.5 million marks electronically in 2005 and all our examiners to be submitting marks on computer by 2007.

Martyn Roan, DRS General Manager of Education commented, “With better access to electronic marking technologies, including imaging techniques, examiners and markers can mark scripts efficiently and effectively without the logistical problems faced with paper script marking. Ultimately, this will lead to greater accuracy levels, results being available much earlier and the opportunity for students to have more time to make key decisions about their future”.


The WJEC used computer marking from image for its GCSE ICT exams using the CD-Rom module of the DRS e-Marker® solution. This entailed the marking software being available via examiner CD-Roms which were simply loaded onto their home PCs. Examiners then logged onto the central system, downloaded the secure mark scheme along with details of the candidates allocated to them for marking. Once marked on screen, the information was simply uploaded back into the system which transferred the marks awarded into the record for that candidate. 

DRS has been working with AQA for a number of years and has been building up the usage of electronic marking to support its examiners and the marking process. This year 18 GCSE examinations have been successfully marked electronically including English, Mathematics, German and ICT.