5.3.3 Adding feedback to TMAs – the practicalities

The time it takes to mark a TMA can vary enormously due to the range of possible TMA questions, and how well the students answer questions. Tutors employ a variety of marking strategies, for example by building a useful bank of feedback comments, which might help with the efficiency and consistency of marking.

"I maintain a separate comments document for a TMA and make notes about useful sections of module material or figures or other sources, which might be relevant to help weaker students and those who need to be challenged. As the marking progresses, I build up a bank of reusable comments for each TMA question." (Joan, from the Correspondence tuition workbook)

How tutors approach the marking can also vary across the different Faculties and Schools at the OU. A key thing to bear in mind is that tutors have flexibility when marking, as highlighted in the following quote.

"I set myself a target number of scripts to mark each day. If the scripts are good then it is usually easy to achieve the target in a day, but the marking will take longer if the scripts are from weaker students. Allowing some contingency in your schedule is a good idea!" (Joan, from the Correspondence tuition workbook)

Equally important is for tutors to make sure that students can view the marking comments. For this reason, many tutors add comments directly to the students’ scripts, in a contrasting colour. Tutors might also use Track Changes or other marking methods.

Whatever marking method is used, tutors should check with students that they can view the marking comments. This might be achieved via a dummy TMA that students are encouraged to complete at module start, also known as eTMA00.

"I use eTMA00 to ask the student to comment on how my feedback works for them and I would change it if requested." (Shena, from the Correspondence tuition workbook)

In this way, tutors can be sure right from module start that the feedback they provide is in the most suitable format for students.

5.3.2 Marking guides

5.3.4 Coordination and monitoring of marked assignments