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Learning and Teaching

5. Marking and Production of Feedback


York St John University has agreed Generic Assessment Descriptors (DOC, 23.3kB) for undergraduate assessments. Marking criteria should be mapped against these. 

York St John University is committed to fair and transparent marking.

Adjustments for disability or Exceptional Circumstances should have been made before assignment submission, so all submissions should be marked in the same way.

If you suspect plagiarism during the marking process, then you may like to look at our resources which help with detection, and explain what to do if you identify it: Academic Integrity.

Marking and Moderation Schedule

Before the submission date for assignments (and ideally at the beginning of the year, to help with planning), module leaders should produce a marking and moderation schedule. The University procedures for verification, marking and moderation of assessments explain what may be required, and what the expectations are for selecting samples for internal and external moderation and recording marking and moderation decisions. The YSJU policy document on  provides more detailed information about the approved process.


Moderation is an essential process of monitoring that assessment and marking have taken place in a way that ensures consistency across the module and between modules of the same level, matches learning outcomes, maintains standards and is fair to students.

In practice, moderation entails the review and potential adjustment of a set of marks for a particular module, normally through sampling the assessment.

At YSJU, all dissertations are double marked. The extent of double marking of other assignments is to be decided by the Faculty but aligned with the minimum (which is explained in the University procedures).

Double marking often leads to debates and arguments about the correct mark. This assumes that a correct mark can be arrived at and there is much evidence to suggest that this is not the case. As such moderation should focus on establishing that the mark awarded is in the correct band.  Moderators should also be asked to make a judgement on the feedback: is it sufficient and/or useful?


Calibration is considered to be good practice and so applying it to all situations would be advisable. A calibration exercise must take place where a marker is newly appointed to the institution, or where a team of markers is involved in first marking. The process of calibration is as follows: the module director selects at least two pieces of work at random from the module assignments submitted. These two scripts are independently marked by all tutors involved in the marking of the assignment. All the markers meet to calibrate the marking and agree marks for each marked script, referencing to the marking criteria and/or scheme as necessary. A brief rationale for the final agreed mark is clearly identified on the feedback sheets or equivalent. Calibrating feedback would also be good practice at this stage. A calibration exercise may be undertaken for other modules at the discretion of the module director and Chair of the SAP.

External Examiners

The External Examiner also provides a further element of quality assurance by providing feedback on the integrity of the marking process and commenting upon the usefulness of the feedback provided. Remember though that the standards that are being applied to the student's work belong to YSJU. External Examiners should comment upon marking but are not in a position to demand that marks be changed.


Assuming that the assignment has been set up effectively during the 'Setting' phase, then marking and feedback decisions should be straightforwardly based on the original plan. York St John University's policy is that marking should be completed within 15 working days. This is to facilitate the timely return of marks and feedback to students.

Feedback is information about the merits and areas for development of a piece of work. In the case of summative assessment, feedback is also related to the criteria and standards for assessment. Feedback can be provided by staff and/or peers throughout a module in order to support learning, to facilitate improvement and to help to develop the evaluative skills of students; this is formative (as opposed to summative) feedback.

Timing is important: students benefit from feedback on their work at a time when they are able to use it to best effect and in a way that does not increase the burden of assessment for staff or students.

York St John University does not insist upon a uniform feedback form being adopted, but feedback should be fit for purpose. It is possible to give too much feedback. To this end, feedback must be useful to students in respect of their future development. As such a range of feedback forms are currently used across the university, but in each case markers should focus upon assisting students to learn from assessment rather than just being informed of where they have performed weakly.

At York St John University we have developed, through a collaborative process, our own University Feedback Principles, which emphasise: a programme-level approach to feedback; student self-evaluation; dialogue between students, tutors and peers; and the importance of formative feedback and 'feed forward' (constructive guidance on how students can improve their next assignment). Please click on the link to read the Principles in full.

The aim of the Feedback Principles in Practice website and blog is to share ideas about how we put them into practice to enhance student learning.

Production of Feedback

Using Microsoft Word Comments, Track Changes & Quick Parts


You can insert a comment inside balloons that appear in the document margins. This means that clear feedback can be given at the point that an issue arises. It is helpful because it does not require that students make a link between a comment on a cover sheet and the location of issues within their work. You can also hide comments from view - Insert or Delete a Comment.

Track Changes

You can customise the status bar to add an indicator that tells you when change tracking is on or off. With this facility you can add or delete text to an assignment and the student can clearly see what you have done. It also provides an opportunity for the student to view the document based upon your changes easily. When the Track Changes feature is on, you can view all of the changes that you make in a document. When you turn off the Track Changes feature, you can make changes to a document without marking what has changed - Turn Track Changes On or Off.

Quick Parts

The Quick Part Gallery is a gallery where you can create, store, and find reusable pieces of content, including AutoText, document properties such as title and author, and fields - Quick Parts. So, if there are comments that you find yourself repeating on numerous assignments it can save you a lot of time as you only have to insert the comment rather than rewriting it.

For more information on using Microsoft Word for marking & production of feedback please contact Digital Training.

Using Grademark

With Turnitin's GradeMark tool a tutor is able to edit and grade student work online.

Tutors can use GradeMark to grade student's written work (i.e. essays, thesis, powerpoint files), non-written work (including images, videos, music files) or work not submitted to a Turnitin assignment (i.e. speeches, presentations, performances, or works of art).

For student written work tutors can add comments within the body of the paper, point out grammar and punctuation mistakes, evaluate the paper against qualitative or quantitative rubrics, assess the student’s performance within the class and enter a grade for the paper that is automatically saved into GradeBook (optional).

Tutors may use the grading template for assignments that do not require a submission (i.e. speeches, presentations, performances, or works of art). The grading template maintains all of the functionality of GradeMark except for the ability to view the file within the Document Viewer.

Using the TurnItIn iPad App

Turnitin for iPad allows instructors to grade student papers with all the favorite Turnitin features, on your iPad with the added benefit of grading offline. Turnitin for iPad includes automated originality feedback and allows you to leave the following types of feedback on student papers:

  • QuickMark Comments with Personalised Comments
  • Highlights with Comments
  • Bubble Comments
  • Inline Comments
  • Strikethrough Text
  • Voice Comments
  • General Comments
  • Rubric Grading

Turnitin for iPad is available as a free download in the App Store. Once downloaded to your iPad, click on the Turnitin icon to open the app.

Audio & Video Feedback

Audio and/or video feedback can be presented and delivered in a variety of ways, including:

  • Audio Only - A digital audio file such as an MP3 or WAV file using an MP3 recorder, Audacity, iAnnotate or similar.
  • Synchronous Audio-Video - Moving image and audio together, such as video footage or screencasts using Jing or Camtasia.

Choosing one of these types of feedback will generally depend on two things, the level of time and technical involvement you wish to embark in, and the suitability for the type of assessment and the needs of the student.

  • Media-enhanced submission and feedback
  • Using Audio Feedback for Assessment

For more help, information or advice about using audio and/or video feedback please contact

Rob Creasy (May 2015)


Module Leader

  • Produce a marking and moderation schedule for their module
  • Ensure that marking and feedback are completed within the three week deadline, and ensure that internal moderation is also completed in this period
  • Review the marking and feedback process after moderation and report back to programme committee as part of the Programme Monitoring & Review process

Head of Programme

  • Collate marking and moderation schedules for each level and review for consistency
  • Review assessment at each level annually

Assessment Lifecycle by Academic Development Directorate is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Based on work at Manchester Metropolitan University Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, some of which was developed as part of the JISC-supported TRAFFIC project.