Shiell, H., Johnson, M., Hopkin, R., Nadas, R. and Bell, J. (2011). Extended essay marking on screen: Does marking mode influence marking outcomes and processes? Research Matters: A Cambridge University Press & Assessment publication, A selection of articles (2011) 14-19. First published in Research Matters, Issue 7, January 2009
Research into comparisons between how people read texts on paper and computer screen suggests that the medium in which a text is read might influence the way that a reader comprehends that text. This is because some of the reading behaviours that support comprehension building, such as seamless navigation and annotation of text, are not easily replicated on screen.
Additional research also suggests that reading long texts can be more cognitively demanding on screen, and that this extra demand can have a detrimental effect on how readers comprehend longer texts. In the context of examination marking, there might be concerns that such a mode-related effect might lead to essays being marked less accurately when marked on screen compared with when they are marked on paper.
To investigate further the potential links between marking mode and the outcomes and processes of extended essay marking, the current project replicated an earlier study (Johnson and Nádas, 2009), replacing GCSE essays with longer Advanced GCE essays. The current project considered three broad areas of enquiry, exploring mode-related influences on (i) marking outcomes, (ii) manual marking processes and (iii) cognitive marking processes.