Graham Gibbs revisits the notion that objective assessment is likely to be near impossible. In Idea 43: Most assessment involves (unreliable) professional judgement and is all the better for it, Gibbs suggests that the time devoted to second and third marking might better be devoted to discussion of assessors’ decision-making especially at the points of assessment design, marking and moderation. This can be achieved by markers – perhaps teams of tutors alongside more experienced markers – sitting in the same room when marking. By comparing notes and discussing difficult papers, the different interpretations and judgements can be brought out in the open and unwanted variations reduced.
Graham Gibbs is one of the UK’s most well known advocates of improving university learning and teaching. With his colleagues (Habeshaw & Habeshaw), he was responsible for the very popular ’53 Interesting Ideas’ books series that have supported countless teachers (new and experienced) to navigate their way through tricky classroom and curriculum dilemmas. Gibbs‘ blog ’53 Powerful Ideas all Teachers Should Know About’ offers a research summary of key issues, and is hosted by the Staff and Educational Development Association (SEDA) in the UK.