Marking, is a strange thing. Knowing that the figure that your pen shall scratch out on the marksheets shall have an impact on someone's choices in their future is strange. To know that this person is hoping for a high mark in most cases and then also knowing that you could notch it up, if you like, makes this job not only tedious but something that involves a lot of thinking.
Combine this pressure with that of assessing works of Art / Design and Craft students. Where personal opinion and a touch of likes and dislikes which colour your decisions and therefore your marks. I like certains styles of work and dislike certain mediums, thus judging a piece of work made in the a way I dont like makes it tough for me to judge fairly.
Its all about getting a fair mark. It is also about judging fairly the effort made to work. So what do you do when personal prejudices and grudges against students show up? You can't always like the lazy one who does little work, skips lectures and whines about lack of support. On the other hand the one who lives in the library, does about 4 drafts of each piece of work and sits right up front in all lectures and seminars is hard to dislike.
There is yet another dimension. Meeting the eager beavers on the street and they tell you all about how hard they worked and how they hope this year shall get them better marks than last year and how they have sat and made plans of what to do next year. And how their parents are looking forward to their Graduation ceremony!!
Hmm! Poor sods, little do they know that when you mark 180 essays in a short period of time. The work becomes nameless and faceless. Personal opinions are hard to suppress in matters of art and design. So I guess its me and my marking...but....but...this is UK..we got to be fair..right? Every time? YES!!
Assessment is looked at by 3 different people for each piece of work, which means it is as fair as it gets. Then an independant marker shall compare notes and discuss reasons for disagreement over marks that may arise. Then marks are re-negotiated..and finally put down. This final mark is assesed by an external moderator who again thinks if its right or wrong. And then a mark is given which is written in stone. Well...as far as possible. There is however a possibility that the student can raise a complaint about it and get it looked at again.
Which means for people like me who teach and mark...every assignment is a painful long journey..dont know who the poor sods really are...me or them!!