A semi-automatic computer-aided assessment approach for marking and providing feedback comments

Assessment is an essential part of the learning process. It is important for educators to provide detailed and reliable evaluations to students so that they can be better prepared for future studies and the workplace. Marking and providing formative feedback can be time-consuming and prone to errors especially when detailed analyses of students’ problem-solving steps are considered. A computer-aided marking and feedback support tool that aims at improving the efficiency and effectiveness of human marking may result in reduced marking time, improved consistency in marking, and improved feedback capabilities. This paper discusses a semi-automatic approach to marking problem-solving steps in the context of elementary school mathematics using analytical assessment rubrics. A prototype tool which implements the approach is described following recommendations based on research evidence in mathematics problem solving. The tool was evaluated in an observational study which compared marking-time efficiencies obtained using the technique with those obtained from marking done manually. The result suggests that the method has the potentials to facilitate broad feedback delivery, improve marking consistency and may save on marking time. The use of such marking and feedback support systems may contribute to the overall educational goal of more accurate and consistent assessment procedures.