Partner in focus: No More Marking

How an innovative edtech venture is changing the quality of school marking

One of the most exciting innovations in assessment theory in recent times involves a technique called Comparative Judgment (CJ). The principle behind CJ is simple: that humans are better at making comparisons between things than they are are at making holistic judgements. For example, we can decide which of two sounds is a higher pitch, but find it much harder to determine the exact pitch.

When applied to assessment, CJ usually involves teachers comparing two pieces of work, and deciding which is better. When multiple teachers do this across multiple classes, it becomes possible to establish a remarkably reliable rank order for all scripts - without anyone actually needing to mark work in the conventional sense. This is particularly exciting in subjects that revolve around writing, which is traditionally hard to grade in a reliably standardised way. The process is also considerably quicker than traditional marking, so CJ manages to save teachers time while improving the quality of their judgments! And it’s not just schools that are having their heads turned by CJ; the DfE’s recent consultation on assessment mentions plans for the government to trial CJ as an option for assessing English writing.

Of course, the level of calculation involved in processing judgments requires clever technology, and leading the way in this field is an innovative company called No More Marking. Their comparative judgment tools are tailored to suit a school’s needs, with specific products now available to cover Key Stages 1-4. And since January 2017, Assembly have been working with No More Marking to help them improve the way teachers grade written work.

Assembly plays two important roles for No More Marking. First, schools can configure No More Marking using the Assembly Platform, which means they have no manual setup work whatsoever in order to use the project. Schools simply authorise No More Marking to connect to their MIS data using Assembly, and crucial data like class-lists will flow automatically between the two, substantially reducing the workload on teachers and admin staff.

In the words of Daisy Christodoulou, who is the new Director of Education at No More Marking:

‘Assembly makes it much easier for us to set schools up to scan in pupils’ writing, share scripts and track judgements. It’s simplified the administration of pupil work and saved everyone a lot of time!’

Daisy Christodoulou, Head of Assessment at Ark Schools and incoming Director of Education at No More Marking

Second, Assembly is able to receive data back from No More Marking automatically and store it in the Assembly Platform. That allows Assembly to show the data to schools in its Assembly Analytics management dashboards. By doing this, No More Marking extend the value and reach of the data they generate to a broader audience, helping schools to understand their performance and take action accordingly.

No More Marking and Assembly share a common goal: to transform the quality of assessment and analysis in schools, while reducing workload for school staff. Contact us to find out more about how No More Marking and Assembly can help you.