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Jan 27, 2010

AQA awards DRS five year electronic marking contract

The largest English awarding body, Assessment and Qualifications Alliance (AQA) has awarded global data capture specialist DRS a five-year contract for continued use of DRS e-Marker® technology to electronically capture marks from candidates’ scripts.

DRS has been AQA’s technology partner since 2003, when, after a successful pilot, the awarding body appointed it to improve marking standards through electronic marking.  With access to electronic marking technologies, including imaging techniques, AQA examiners and markers can mark scripts efficiently and effectively without the logistical problems faced with paper script marking.  Over nine million scripts are marked using e Marker® with 20,000 ‘home based’ and centre markers submitting marks over the DRS e-Marker® infrastructure.

The new contract, worth £40 million will see the introduction of new techniques for the marking of Long Form Answers (LFA).  These are typically essay type answers which are written free format in answer booklets.  LFAs pose a number of problems when trying to optimise electronic marking because of the need to automatically recognise the location of individual answers.  However, DRS has developed a unique process which enables most answers to be segmented automatically without manual intervention.  The facilities available to markers using the LFA module have also been radically improved to enable convenient manipulation of on-screen essay images.  This development combined with the ability to annotate text while marking has produced a marker experience which is efficient and easy to use and has been welcomed by expert examiners.

Andrew Bird, AQA's Deputy Director General, comments: "We are delighted to continue our long-standing partnership with DRS. This will ensure that we can keep delivering the best possible technological support to our assessments, to the ultimate benefit of all our learners."

Tony Lee, DRS Chief Executive added “DRS is proud to be AQA’s partner in the successful delivery of examination marking.  We are very much looking forward to continuing our relationship with AQA and to further developing e-Marker® to meet the changing requirements of examination marking.”

As AQA’s technology partner, DRS sponsors the annual AQA awards which recognise outstanding performance in A-level and GCSE examinations.

Additional information

DRS e-Marker® offers a variety of modular and scalable electronic marking methods for awarding, assessment and professional bodies.  Designed to add value, reduce time to announce results and improve accuracy and reliability of examination marking, e Marker® harnesses the power of real-time, award winning image capture readers, specialist bureau services and sophisticated software delivered across the internet, to securely capture item-level responses and marks from examiners.

Established in 1969, DRS has the skills and expertise to manage data capture projects of any size or complexity around the world.  Complete solutions are implemented using the Company’s extensive expertise in document design, printing, forms scanning, optical and imaging technologies, software, logistics, project management and consultancy.  Visitwww.drs.co.uk for more details.

For more information please contact:
Katie McBreen or Richard McCann
Friday’s Media Group, 18 Soho Square, London, W1D 3QL
Telephone: 0845 500 1140