What is the role of double-marking? Evidence from an undergraduate medical course

Blair Smith (Lead / Corresponding author), Hazel Sinclair, Julie Simpson, Edwin Van Teijlingen, Christine Bond, Ross Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Double-marking has considerable resource implications, but its value and reliability are uncertain. This paper reports a study aiming to assess the reliability and value of double-marking in an essay assessment, by measuring the level of agreement between markers and the number of grades altered by the second marker. Essays were submitted by third-year medical undergraduates on the Community Course at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, during 1998/99 and 1999/2000, and marked by general practitioners and university academics. Marks were awarded on a Common Assessment Scale, in five bands, with two markers for each essay. Agreement between these marks was compared, and measured using the weighted kappa statistic. In 2000, 68/171 (39.8%) papers were awarded the same band from both markers, and in 1998/99, 25/68 (36.8%) papers were awarded the same band. In both years, the weighted kappa statistic was low (0.12), indicating poor agreement between markers. The reliability of double-marking is not supported by this study. However, the value in reducing marker error and subjectivity is supported. The question remains on how to reconcile disagreement between markers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)497-503
Number of pages7
JournalEducation for Primary Care
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2002


  • Assessment
  • Examinations
  • Undergraduate education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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