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Exam marking scanned PDFs: any tips?

Discussion in 'Assessment' started by S_Borealis, Feb 28, 2018.

  1. S_Borealis

    S_Borealis New commenter

    Hi all,

    I've recently been asked if I can help mark some trial exam papers, which I've agreed to (I worked at this school abroad for several years as an unqualified teacher and I'm now looking at doing my PGCE). The school in question is currently desperate for teachers in my subject and are chronically understaffed due to political complications in the country.

    I've got scanned PDFs as well as all the mark schemes etc. I've done three so far, but it's been slow going. I'm trying to provide thorough feedback as I go. I'm using the various annotation features on PDFs. It's simply not as quick and easy as marking by hand. I'm also conscious at the other end students/staff are going to have to look at these, and marked-up PDFs aren't going to be possible to look at in the classroom (this isn't a school with extensive IT infrastructure).

    Does anyone have any experience with this and can provide any tips/advice on how to make this process easier/quicker for both me and the students/staff at the school? Any advice is greatly appreciated!

  2. MarkBOT

    MarkBOT New commenter

    Hi, this is exactly the sort of thing that we do all the time.
    We can organise merged publications that will automatically feedback to your students based on the questions they answered well/poorly.
    We should be able to reduce the time you spend feeding back considerably, whilst probably improving the quality of feedback you provide.
    Pm us for more details if you would like us to help you out.
  3. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    What will they look at? Printed copies of the pdfs? A copy on screen?

    You should be able to "flatten" the annotated document so that the annotations layer merges with the original layer, and then they should see your markup whatever software they look at, or printed out. (I think there are options to print with the annotations, but flattening is a better option to ensure they see your annotation.) Some free software doesn't allow flattening, but I think another option is to "print to pdf" which has the same effect.

    I do a lot of marking maths in pdfs. Things which help:
    - I have an open Word document, into which I can type decent maths notation, then use the snipping tool to copy and paste the bit I want into the pdf
    - snipping tool to grab bits of the markscheme/question paper
    - stamps for common errors, part-marks, ticks - you can create these from the clipboard, and organise them into sets.

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