Published: 14th June, 2023
With the ongoing Marking and Assessment Boycott, some parts of the University will have their processes of progression and graduation delayed. The current Senate regulations allow managers in the University to appoint alternative markers to undermine the MAB, by producing ‘rogue’ marks. We consider rogue marks to be problematic, because they are usually not awarded by a lecturer familiar with the contents delivered in the module and they may harm the interest of the students. We anticipate this and we must be prepared for such contingency.
At Leicester UCU we know that there is no better marker than the person who has delivered the module and other members of the teaching team. We are therefore very concerned about the quality of marks not given by the most appropriate person. While in some cases these may be produced by competent academics that have decided not to take part in the MAB, experience shows that there are cases where the ‘rogue’ marks do not do justice to the work of the students and their engagement with the content of the modules. We therefore call all University staff, UCU members or not, to assess and, where necessary, challenge the quality of any marks not provided by the initially appointed module markers.
Leicester UCU encourages you to:
Guidance notes: Use the following template to produce a letter for the External Examiner, and you can also copy the Head of School and the Director of the Board of Examinations. Feel free to adjust the letter, but remember that you must follow the following advice:
– Do not declare or imply that you have produced marks or feedback on any particular assignment. Your concerns must be based on an overview of the marks (see some suggestions below).
– Do not include any information about individuals that can be identified. This includes names of staff or students, student numbers, and even assessment marks if they can be used to track a single student.
– Within the constrains noted above, describe your concerns as specifically as possible (see examples below).
Dear External Examiner of [Department/ School/ Unit]
I am writing to you because I have concerns about the marks produced for module [xxxx], in which I was an appointed marker before the start of the Marking and Assessment Boycott called by the University College Union (UCU). The current dispute concerns pay and work conditions. I have taken part in the boycott and I have declared my participation, and therefore I have not produced any marks or feedback for any assessments in this module. However, I have noticed that the assignments of the module have been marked by someone else, and I have the following concerns:
– The marks seem to be inadequate. [Provide more explanation: repetition of the same marks, consistent high scores, consistent low scores, scores clearly out of line with the content of the assessment (do not provide an alternative mark, but note if there are cases where you would have clearly marked with great difference)]
– The feedback seems to be inadequate. [Provide more explanation: clearly insufficient feedback (e.g. only one line indicating that the student asks for feedback from module coordinator), consistent repetition of same feedback, feedback clearly out of line with the content of the assignment].
– [Any other concerns (please specify as much as possible without providing any identifiable information)].
The marks and feedbacks delivered to the students are central to the reputation of the University and of the [School/Department/Unit]. I am therefore asking you to make sure that the marks that students have received by markers other than the ones appointed before the start of the boycott are duly considered.
In order to produce an assessment of ‘rogue’ marks, you need to be one of the originally appointed markers of that module. You will have not produced any marks for the module, but you will have noticed that ‘rogue’ marks have been produced. This point is very important: we are not recommending to mark and park. Please proceed with this form only after you are sure that your marks cannot be used by the University (e.g., because they have been already approved by the Board of Examiners).
If you are ready to produce an assessment, please follow the next steps: