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Allocating students to markers/graders

Question asked by James Trueman on Oct 2, 2019
Latest reply on Nov 19, 2019 by Erin Hallmark

My apologies if I've missed this. Posting as a question to this User Group (may need to be an Idea?)


In terms of an assignment workflow improvement (particularly for larger courses) - not having functionality for academics to manage student allocations to markers/graders and moderators is a significant gap in the current Instructor Workflow. Is this part of the planned work?


What is the requirement?


This is about having API parameters and UI controls to associate Teachers with students. Usually:


  1. a marker / 1st marker, and
  2. a moderator / 2nd marker


Functionally, the system is broadly the same here. It would appear there are only a few broad models of allocation that need to be catered for - which the same architecture could accommodate. These allocations operate on a continuum from 'group' level to 'student' level.


  1. Students are allocated in 'marking groups' to their markers (e.g. 5 available markers, 5 groups), 1 moderator reviews all markers across all 'groups' (e.g one to many data model). 
  2. Students are allocated in 'marking groups' to their markers (e.g. 5 available markers, 5 groups), each marker/marking group has a unique moderator assigned (i.e. each 'marking group' has a unique marker/moderator pairing)
  3. Each student is allocated to a unique 1st marker (e.g. based on speciality/subject etc.), one 2nd marker is allocated to second mark their '2nd marking group'.
  4. Each student is allocated to a specific first marker / second marker allocation (i.e. each 'student' has a unique 1st marker / 2nd marker pairing - common for dissertations).



Common 'marking group' allocation options are a) randomly by number of markers (a bit like 'Random Assign Students' function in Groups), b) randomly by marker capacity (e.g. used with PG / Grad students who have a limit, or PT workers to accommodate pro-rata loading), c) by pre-existing group identity (e.g. tutor/tutorial/seminar group).


In the UK, we have the External Examiner role, so it would be useful to have the additional ability to assign a named External to the assignments (with limited permissions - usually read-only).


There may be jurisdictions where only a marker is allocated (not in the UK), but that can be accommodated by not forcing the moderator / 2nd marker allocation. 


Why do we need this?


We can assign students to Due Dates* (individually or by section), but there is no mechanism to assign/manage the markers who need to grade the students' assessments.


We can put students in sections - which have a bunch of benefits: 

  • Both Speedgrader and the Gradebook can be filtered by section,
  • Section overrides can allow Due Dates to be extended beyond the term date etc. (accommodates students with long extensions to their assessment submission)
  • Analytics has been developed to review grading performance/outcomes by section etc. 


However, the problem is that 'sections' are used for 'high-level' course management (e.g. cross-listing) - and we need a solution that just manages students at 'assignment' level (and there could be multiple assignments per course that need different allocations).   There is also a significant difference between managing the student relationship with the course for 'teaching and learning' and 'marking/assessment' processes.


Teaching and learning

  • you may want everyone to see what everyone else is doing - students can find teachers and other students etc.
  • there usually are not anonymity/confidentiality issues
  • you want engagement in activities - communication - sharing (although some courses may use sections to limit 'cross-cohort' interaction (per FERPA))



  • you do not want students to see other student details - e.g. reference to an extension or a permitted appeal submission
  • you need to allocate two defined staff to a student or group of students
  • it would be better if markers had an interface that helped them find their marking allocation easily - perhaps they saw only their marking initially (e.g. My Grading).
  • the 'teachers' should be able to see all students for 'teaching and learning' but need more granular allocations for 'marking/assessment' (i.e. 'Can interact with users in their section only' won't work as it is too blunt).
  • marking allocation is not always at group/section level - it can often be more granular than that (i.e. it is not what 'group' am I allocated to mark, but which 'students'? - as illustrated above at 4.) 




*Of course we do really need Instructure to finish the work on controlling the unmute process - as it is a bit weird that we can assign a Due Date to an individual student, but can't control when we can unmute their feedback in the same way. The recent feature release of unmute by section only works at section level, and only works for assignments that are not anonymous. I hope that all of this is factored in with the 'adding extensions to individual students' work?