Addressing efficiency and quality of marking in essay assessment with e-learning support

Eva Heinrich


The value of formative assessment using essays is clearly defined in the educational literature. Essays focus on the highest-level learning outcomes of analysing, evaluating, and creating. Formative assessment provides students with feedback to guide their learning. Current e-learning systems largely focus on summative assessment and give only very limited support for the management and marking of essay assignments. After outlining the educational theories on essay assignments, this article introduces two novel e-learning applications, WebCTConnect and MarkTool. Functional descriptions of these applications and their grounding in assessment theory are given. It is argued that e-learning tools can increase the efficiency in dealing with essay assignments and that the quality of essay assessment can be improved by incorporating scoring rubrics, offering class-wide analysis of feedback, and providing tools for the cooperation of marking teams.


online learning; distance education; e-learning; distance learning; technology-enhanced learning; formative assessment; marking

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Journal of Open Flexible and Distance Learningthe journal of the Flexible Learning Association of New Zealand (FLANZ).
ISSN (Print until 2010): 1179-7665 ISSN (Online): 1179-7673