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Aug 24, 2005

AQA examiners pioneer e-Marker® technology

Over 30 million marks from more than 2.5 million scripts were collected this summer using the full suite of e-Marker®, a sophisticated electronic marking solution provided by DRS, AQA’s technology partner. One of the exciting features of e-Marker® is that it enables candidates’ paper answer scripts to be presented as images on computer screens for examiners to mark.

Andrew Bird, AQA Deputy Director General, is looking forward to rolling out the new technology to all examiners: “This summer almost 6,000 examiners and markers were involved in this pioneering operation. The technology they were using streamlines the process for examiners: it releases them from many of the administrative functions of the conventional system and allows them to concentrate on the key task – accurate and efficient marking. The technology also allows us to conduct enhanced checking and quality control, which has a direct impact on the accuracy of the marking process. Security is also increased as we are using bank standard systems. All this is excellent news for students.

“Marking was completed successfully, and ahead of the schedule for conventional marking thanks to our examiners embracing the use of technology”. Andrew went on to explain: “Throughout the electronic marking process, we have been working actively with our examiners to test and develop the system. We are absolutely delighted with the response so far from them.”

David Rigg, an expert examiner and Team Leader, commented:

“The marking process was much quicker. There was no need to transfer all of the sub-totals to the front page. Nor was there a need to do any addition to come up with a total for the paper. Marvellous!

As a team leader, the process was a lot more streamlined. Obviously, with electronic marking there were no instances of clerical errors on the part of members of my team, adding up totals incorrectly.

This is clearly the way forward. Personally, I enjoyed the experience of electronic marking tremendously and am certainly looking forward to the next time.”

Alison Hiller, an expert examiner, also expressed how much she enjoyed using the e-Marker® system. “Although a little apprehensive at first, I found the programmes easy to use and certainly very quick and user-friendly”.

Andrew Bird added “Our examiners have embraced the use of technology in the marking of around 50% of AQA GCSE papers this summer. To put things into perspective, this has had a five fold increase in the level of information available for the process of awarding grades and has improved quality assurance: we are planning to more than double our use of this technology next year with a major emphasis on on-screen marking.”

AQA Public Affairs contact: Claire Ellis, Tel: +44(0)1483 477911 
DRS Press Office contact: Debbie Rofe, Tel: +44(0)1908 423760