The reliability of essay scores: The necessity of rubrics and moderation

Gavin Thomas Lumsden BROWN

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapters

Abstract

The use of essays is a well-established means of evaluating student learning in higher education. The accuracy of scoring essays is estimated with three means (i.e., consensus, consistency, and measurement estimates). Evidence is consistent that inter-and intra-marker rating of essays is unreliable. The nature of essay tasks and marker behavior has been shown to contribute significantly to the error component in essay scores. Scoring guides or rubrics to guide scoring and multiple marking or moderation of essays are necessary requirements of reliable essay scores. While essays may be valid, their usage depends on accuracy of scoring and if this cannot be established alternative assessment approaches should be considered. Copyright © 2009 Ako Aotearoa.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTertiary assessment and higher education student outcomes: Policy, practice and research
Place of PublicationWellington, NZ
PublisherAko Aotearoa
Pages40-48
ISBN (Print)9780473154233
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Citation

Brown, G. T. L. (2009). The reliability of essay scores: The necessity of rubrics and moderation. In L. H. Meyer, S. Davidson, H. Anderson, R. Fletcher, P. M. Johnston & M. Rees (Eds.), Tertiary assessment and higher education student outcomes: Policy, practice and research (pp. 40-48). Wellington, NZ: Ako Aotearoa.

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