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Learning Technology Team

Grading, feedback, and verification processes in NILE [Ultra]

Information for Staff

Grading, feedback, and verification processes in NILE

This page provides a very brief overview of the University's grading, feedback, and verification processes as they relate to NILE.

By following the procedures set out here, staff will remain compliant with the grading, feedback, and verification processes detailed in appendices one and two of the University's Assessment and Feedback Policy.

Please note that the guidance on this page does not replace or supersede the University's Assessment and Feedback Policy, and staff will need to familiarise themselves with all the University's policies on assessment, feedback, and anonymous marking (see link below), as well as the technical guidance provided here.


The stages of grading, feedback, and verification

At the University of Northampton, grading, feedback, and verification is divided into five parts:

  1. Standardisation
  2. First marking
  3. Internal moderation
  4. Internal verification
  5. External verification

It is essential that accurate records of these processes are directly available in NILE courses, and that links to documents stored elsewhere (e.g., in OneDrive) are not used. This is important both for data protection reasons, and so that archived NILE courses contain all grading, feedback and verification records.

GDPR / Data protection information to note

Please note that the 'Grading, feedback, and verification' folder is hidden from students and must always remain so, as should all items stored within this area (see screenshot below).

Should items stored in this area of the course be made available to students, it may constitute a data breach and will need to be reported to the University’s Records Management Office for further investigation.

Screenshot showing items hidden from students

1. Standardisation

Standardisation only occurs where multiple assessors are marking an assessment item, such as happens on a module with a large number of students enrolled where marking is split across a number of assessors.

"The purpose of a standardisation process is to establish that all assessors are applying the agreed grade criteria consistently. In practice, this involves the relevant group of assessors (e.g. a module marking team) each independently marking a sample of pieces of student work and assigning grades using pre-agreed criteria. The marking team then compare and discuss the outcomes to standardise their approaches. Following this exercise, the assessors continue to mark student work in the usual manner." (UON Assessment and Feedback Policy, Appendix 1, Item 2.)

Where standardisation takes place, a record of this should be added by the module leader to the 'Grading, feedback, and verification' folder in the NILE course. The record should state the date on which the standardisation activity took place, and the persons who took part in it. The module leader may record this information directly in the NILE course using an Ultra document, or may upload a Word, Excel, or PDF document instead (see guide below). A link to a document held elsewhere should not be used.


How to create an Ultra document, or upload a document to the 'Grading, feedback, and verification' folder

Open the 'Grading, feedback, and verification' folder.
To create an Ultra document, select 'Create'. From the next screen, choose 'Document'. See link below for more information about creating and using Ultra documents.
To upload a pre-existing document, select 'Upload'.

If you have already added items to your 'Grading, feedback, and verification' folder, select the + (plus) button to add your new document, and choose 'Create' or 'Upload' to add additional documents.

Please do not use links to documents held elsewhere.

Ensure that all documents created or uploaded to the 'Grading, feedback, and verification' folder are set to 'Hidden from students'.

2. First marking

"First Marking is typically carried out by the module tutor (the first assessor) ... [As well as the grade, the] first assessor will provide both feedback and feedforward to the student (i.e. feedback to justify the allocated grade, and feedforward to support learner development ... the grade and feedback/feedforward must be agreed with the second marker/moderator prior to release to students." (UON Assessment and Feedback Policy, Appendix 1, Item 3.)

The first assessor can here follow the processes set out in the pages above. Where work is not electronically submitted, grades, feedback and feedforward can still be recorded and made available to students via a manually-created Gradebook column. See: 'Ultra Workflow 5: Performance, Presentation, Viva, Artefact'.

3. Internal moderation

"Internal Moderation is the process whereby student work is second marked in preparation for internal verification of the grades and feedback. The purpose of Internal Moderation is to corroborate the reliability of the marking standards applied by the first assessor." (UON Assessment and Feedback Policy, Appendix 1, Items 5 and 6.)

The second assessor should access the grades and feedback given by the first assessor in NILE using the same process set out for the first assessor in the pages above. However, at no point during the internal moderation process should the second assessor change the grade, or change or add to the feedback given by the first assessor. The internal moderation process simply requires that the second assessor record the date their moderation took place, which items of assessed work they looked at, and whether they agreed or disagreed with the grades, feedback and feedforward given by the first assessor. Where the second assessor disagrees with either the grades, feedback, or feedforward given by the first assessor, the second assessor should record the nature of this disagreement for discussion during the internal moderation stage.

For full details of how many and which items of assessment should be internally moderated, see the Assessment and Feedback Policy, in particular, Appendix 1, Item 12 (see link below).

Where student work is anonymously marked, instead of using the Student ID, the Turnitin Paper ID should be used instead to record which items of assessment were internally moderated (see screenshot below). Please note that anonymous marking is only supported for assessments submitted via Turnitin.

The second assessor will need to keep their own internal moderation notes to share with the first assessor, but does not need to record anything in NILE, or upload any documents to NILE.


Where to find the Turnitin Paper ID

4. Internal verification

"Internal Verification is the process whereby grades and feedback are confirmed to ensure that they are appropriate, fair and reliable across all items of assessment. Internal Verification is usually carried out by the first and second assessors discussing and agreeing the grades and any feedback/feedforward." (UON Assessment and Feedback Policy, Appendix 1, Items 13 and 14.)

Once the first and second assessors have met to discuss the outcome of the internal moderation process, and have come to an agreement about the grades, feedback and feedforward, the first marker should amend the grades, feedback and feedforward accordingly. For each item of assessment, where there has been a disagreement about the original grade, feedback, or feedforward, the amended grade, feedback and feedforward should always represent the agreed position of the first and second assessors. Students should never see two sets of grades, feedback and feedforward from the two different assessors.

Once all the grades, feedback and feedforward have been confirmed (and, where necessary, amended) the first assessor should add a record of the internal moderation and verification process to the 'Grading, feedback, and verification' folder in the NILE course. The internal moderation and verification record should include:

  • Names of first and second assessors;
  • Date of internal moderation;
  • Which items of work were internally moderated by the second assessor (using the Turnitin Paper ID if the work was marked and moderated anonymously, or Student ID if not);
  • The outcome of internal verification for each item that was internally moderated (i.e., agreement or disagreement with grades and/or feedback);
  • Date of internal verification meeting;
  • Where there was a disagreement between the first and second assessor, the nature of the disagreement and how it was resolved.

The first assessor may record this information directly in the NILE course using an Ultra document, or may upload a Word, Excel, or PDF document instead (see guide below). A link to a document held elsewhere should not be used.

Once the internal verification process has been completed, grades and feedback can be released to students, and the grades can be sent to Student Records.


How to create an Ultra document, or upload a document to the 'Grading, feedback, and verification' folder

Open the 'Grading, feedback, and verification' folder.
To create an Ultra document, select 'Create'. From the next screen, choose 'Document'. See link below for more information about creating and using Ultra documents.
To upload a pre-existing document, select 'Upload'.

If you have already added items to your 'Grading, feedback, and verification' folder, select the + (plus) button to add your new document, and choose 'Create' or 'Upload' to add additional documents.

Please do not use links to documents held elsewhere.

Ensure that all documents created or uploaded to the 'Grading, feedback, and verification' folder are set to 'Hidden from students'.

5. External verification

"Following a robust process of Internal Verification, a sample of assessment items will be reviewed by the External Examiner. All items reviewed by the External Examiner will have been subject to Internal Verification, although not all items scrutinised by the External Examiner will have been Internally Moderated. The role of the External Examiner is to provide an objective, external engagement with the assessment items to ensure that they have been graded reliably and reflect the required academic standards set by the University in line with sector expectations." (UON Assessment and Feedback Policy, Appendix 1, Item 24.)

To allow external verification to take place, the module leader will need to add the external examiner to the NILE course (see below). The external examiner will have access to all items of assessed work via the Gradebook, as well as the documents contained in the 'Grading, feedback, and verification processes' folder in the NILE course.

The external examiner should be provided by the module leader with a copy of the Assessment Moderation Form (see link below), and may use this to record the outcome of their findings. Regardless of the method used by the external examiner to record their findings, their findings should be added to the 'Grading, feedback, and verification processes' folder in the NILE course. The document containing the external examiner's findings should be uploaded to by the module leader, who may upload a Word, Excel, PDF, etc. document (see below). A link to a document held elsewhere should not be used.

This completes the grading, feedback, and verification process.


How to add an external examiner to a NILE course

Under 'Class register' in the Details & Actions menu, select 'View everyone on your course'.

Select the + (plus) button to enrol people on your course.

Type the external examiner's username into the search box, select them, choose the role 'External Examiner', and save.

If you are unsure what your external examiner's username is, please contact externalexaminers@northampton.ac.uk.


How to add the external examiner's report to the 'Grading, feedback, and verification' folder

Open the 'Grading, feedback, and verification' folder, select the + (plus) button, and choose upload.

Should you require urgent assistance with NILE, please contact the LearnTech Support Helpdesk via the online contact form