Author Identifiers

Nathanael Reinertsen
ORCID: 0000-0002-3123-5203

Date of Award

2020

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

First Advisor

Dr Bill Allen

Second Advisor

Associate Professor Brian Moon

Abstract

Judging the quality of student work is a core skill of a proficient teacher. This professional competency is often utilised by organisations that run large-scale marking operations when they recruit teachers as markers. These organisations and the teachers themselves often claim that large-scale marking is valuable professional development.

This research aimed to determine whether professional learning outcomes similar to those reported by experienced teachers can be achieved for preservice teachers through participation in a live simulation of a large-scale marking operation. The research was conducted in three phases: an online survey of Australian teachers to establish that reports of benefit from other contexts are generalisable to Australia; a simulated marking experience for 22 preservice teachers at Edith Cowan University; and finally, follow-up interviews with seven of those participants after their first semester of teaching to establish to what extent their perceptions of the marking experience had changed.

The research collected qualitative data through interviews and an online survey. Additionally, there was quantitative data collected during the marking simulation in the form of scores, and these were analysed with simple descriptive statistics, linear correlation, and a many-facet Rasch analysis to examine the severity or harshness of the novice markers. The analysis of the scoring was not done to examine the skill of the markers, but rather to evaluate the quality of the marker training in the simulation. It was found that the markers scored reliably, and so it was inferred that the simulation training was probably similar to authentic marker training.

The research found that the benefits described by the simulation participants largely centred on increased confidence in marking and gaining experience of marking. These main benefits and several minor ones broadly aligned with benefits published in the literature. The perception of value in the simulated marking experience did not diminish after the preservice teachers had begun their work as teachers, and several reported using processes or concepts from the experience in their professional work.

The research concluded that simulated marking sessions have applications in preservice teacher education. There were strong recommendations from participants that a practical marking experience such as the simulation become a mandatory part of initial teacher education courses.

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