Testimonials

News : BOSTES sign Civica as exclusive MarkManager reseller in UK, Europe and Canada


17th June 2016, London: Civica has signed an exclusive deal with Sydney-based BOSTES (Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards) to supply and support MarkManager, its highly effective on-screen marking system, to organisations in the UK, Europe and Canada.

MarkManager automates the workflow of on-screen marking to provide an end-to-end assessment solution for certifying authorities, awarding bodies and other educational and testing institutions. It is highly scalable and available as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering.

Civica currently supplies MarkManager to the British Council for its International English Language Test System (IELTS) exam, requiring around two million exam papers to be scanned into the BOSTES MarkManager system each year. Civica also provides a scan verification service to ensure that all exam papers are captured by the system without error. Assessors around the world mark the exam papers online and then submit them to the examination board, which issues a result within 14 days of the student sitting the exam.

The advantages over manual marking are not limited to cost reduction and time saving but also include increased fairness, reliability and accuracy of marking. On-screen marking can also assist with professional development, for example by encouraging the participation of teachers from remote areas.

Lee Burley, Executive Director for Education at Civica, said, “As a specialist in delivering innovative solutions to over 6,000 schools, colleges and libraries, Civica is delighted to partner with BOSTES to provide an on-screen solution to exam marking, which will streamline the process to drive efficiencies and improved accuracy.”

Tom Alegounarias, President of BOSTES, said, “MarkManager was developed for our internationally regarded Higher School Certificate - over 100 courses studied by over 70,000 students sitting around 350,000 exams marked by over 5,500 markers. The on-screen MarkManager technology brings best practice marking together with a number of sophisticated quality assurance tools not available in pen-and-paper marking.
“We are pleased to partner with Civica as our exclusive supplier of MarkManager to the UK, Europe and Canada.”
 

About Civica
Civica is a market-leading specialist in digital solutions, critical software applications and outsourcing services that help organisations around the world to transform the way they work. Combining exceptional customer focus, experience and commitment, Civica supplies services to more than 4,000 organisations in the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Canada and the USA.

About BOSTES
Based in Sydney, Australia, BOSTES is responsible for school curriculum, assessment, and teaching and regulatory standards for schools in New South Wales, including:
• development of the curriculum for Kindergarten to Year 12
• accreditation of teachers, and teacher professional development requirements
• development, operations and marking of the Higher School Certificate examination
• registration of schools
• accreditation of teachers
• approval of tertiary teacher education degrees
 

Video of BOSTES experience and commitment to MarkManager

In this five-minute video BOSTES markers, senior markers and supervisors of marking explain the benefits of MarkManager, which they have experienced first-hand, such as fairer, smarter and more efficient marking, marking from home and real-time management of the marking process.

The President of BOSTES also outlines the benefits of MarkManager from his point of view and the solution’s commercialisation program.

Case study: WA School Curriculum and Standards Authority

West Australia School Curriculum and Standards Authority logoFollowing a successful tender, the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards NSW (BOSTES) became the supplier of an online marking service to the Western Australia School Curriculum and Standards Authority ("the Authority"). The Board's solution for the Authority encompasses operation of its MarkManager system on a Software as a Service (SaaS) basis, advice and guidance, support, training, customization, implementation planning and project management. The MarkManager solution is hosted on the Board's servers in a secure data centre and provided to the Authority through a secure Internet connection.

The Authority uses MarkManager to mark examination responses for the Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE) examinations, which take place at the end of year 12. The on-screen marking process begins in earnest with the scanning of completed WACE "scripts" (examination response booklets) submitted by candidates. In a controlled online environment, the Authority's markers access the scripts remotely over the Internet for marking.

Instantaneous marker reliability and activity feedback allows chief markers and team leaders to monitor each marker's performance and take corrective action immediately if needed. As a mature adopter of information technology to achieve its goals, the Authority has been able to leverage MarkManager to provide an accurate and reliable marking service.

  1. The Challenges
  2. The Solution
  3. The Benefits
  4. Conclusion
  5. Company and System Information

The Challenges

The Western Australia School Curriculum and Standards Authority is an independent statutory authority that is responsible to the Minister for Education. The Authority is responsible for setting standards of student achievement, for the assessment and certification of student achievement according to those standards, for developing an outline of curriculum and assessment in schools, developing and accrediting courses for schools and for maintaining a database of related information.

The WACE examinations are a huge logistical exercise for the Authority. Tasks include hiring and training the markers, printing the examination papers, distributing them to the examination centres, collecting the scripts and getting them securely transported to the markers. Recent statistics show that approximately 17,000 candidates sit for the WACE examinations, each doing on average an exam in 4 courses. Over 68,000 exam booklets are printed and nearly 1,000 markers are involved in marking of the scripts and another 350 markers are involved in scoring the non-written (practical) exams, such as music performance and drama.

One of the major challenges the Authority faces is due to Western Australia's vast land area. Some of the cities and towns are more than 3,500 klm away from the capital city Perth. This makes it hard for teachers from regional areas to participate as markers in traditional marking, which by its nature requires access to hard-copy scripts and hence a more centralised marking approach. Not only does this impact the number of potential markers available, it also means that teachers do not have the opportunity to improve their curriculum and assessment skills by means of the marking process.

Another challenge of traditional marking is the overhead in catering for double blind marking, which the Authority had found effective in improving reliability and accuracy. In double blind marking, two markers assess a script independently of each other, unaware of the scores awarded by the other marker and unable to view each other's annotations. When the two scores differ by more than a predefined variance tolerance (for an item, section or total), a reconciliation procedure follows. In the traditional approach, double blind marking requires a separate mark-sheet be manually maintained so that the first marker's assessment doesn't influence the second marker. Additionally there is a lot of "paper-handling" in ensuring the scripts are moved securely and quickly between markers.

A final challenge is the ability to monitor the performance of markers in a timely manner. In a traditional marking environment, there is a time delay before a supervisor's check marking or inspection of "control scripts" highlights a shortfall in accuracy. It would be far preferable to have continuous and automated monitoring of performance, so that corrective action can be taken more promptly.

To overcome these challenges, the Authority was already using on-screen marking technology for some of its WACE exams. Since the accuracy, security and timely progress of marking are essential, the Authority continuously strives for improvement and hence reviews its marking technologies every few years.

In 2011 the Authority put out a request for proposal for a managed services solution for online marking. The solution had to facilitate several key outcomes, including high accuracy marking and an efficient and timely marking process, as well as maintaining the security and confidentiality of all materials. The monitoring and reporting facilities were also important to the Authority. Additionally the solution provider needed to have proven experience and an on-location training capability.

After a comprehensive and detailed tender evaluation process, the Authority selected MarkManager, an online marking solution developed by BOSTES, commercialised with advice and assistance from LANSA.

Jenny Morup, Manager, Examinations Logistics for the Authority, explains, "We selected MarkManager because it met our criteria and offered value for money. Value for money is a very important factor for a government agency when a tender is let. We want to achieve the best possible outcome for every dollar spent. That means you need to assess the costs, benefits and risks inherent in an offer carefully, rather than simply selecting the lowest offered price."

The fact that the solution had proven to work well for the high school examinations in New South Wales (NSW), the most populous state in Australia, and that BOSTES would provide implementation assistance were also important factors.

"Value for money is a very important factor for a government agency when a tender is let"

The Solution

In its first year of implementation, 2012, the Authority used MarkManager for nine exams: English as an Additional Language and Math (both in several levels), Biological Sciences, Physics and Chemistry. Additional exams might be included in future years, for the duration of the tender.

"The team from BOSTES was very knowledgeable, helped us with the planning and gave very good support. Together we set up an operational plan that worked exceptionally well throughout the project," says Morup.

The Authority's marking process started with the colour-scanning of the writing booklets the students had completed, which were uploaded in PDF format into MarkManager. During that process the number of pages is validated and the student and exam centre identification details are masked. For some of the exams the pages were reassembled into separate documents, so that markers only got to see the exam section they have to mark.

The Authority doesn't use marking centres and markers use their own equipment to access the scanned scripts remotely over the Internet, usually from their home. The solution ensures that no marks or scripts ever reside on the marker's desktop. Markers can set their individual screen preferences, such as to display mark boxes left or right, and they can view a list of the scripts they have been working on. They can add notes for themselves or for the attention of the chief marker.

Chief markers have additional functionality and can pre-mark practice scripts that markers have to complete satisfactorily before they are allowed to start marking real scripts. They can also set up a frequency for inserting control scripts in between the real scripts to check that markers remain on the ball.

Chief markers have a real-time dashboard view of what markers are doing and can go to any script to look at the marker's notes and marks awarded. They can view the statistics at any time, such as how the spread of markings for a specific exam section is evolving, how many scripts are marked and still need to be marked.

MarkManager's ability to allow markers and chief markers to exchange messages is considered extremely helpful, especially since the Authority's markers work remotely. Messaging is used, for example, when a marker wants the opinion of the chief marker about a certain script. Likewise, a chief marker may feel the need to comment on the marking of a certain script.

Melanie Jasper, Senior Consultant Written Examinations (Marking) at the Authority, says that the feedback from the markers was very positive "They found the application easy to use and liked the fact that they could adapt the screens to suit themselves. Access to the scripts was easy and the speed very quick. Markers were able to work on one script after another without experiencing any slow uploads. The system was quick, even in peak periods."

"Access to the scripts was easy and the speed very quick"

The Benefits

"The ability to monitor the standard of marking as it is occurring is exceptionally important," explains Morup. "In addition to double blind marking, we also have good quality control because of the reference scripts that can be placed throughout the marking process, such as the start-up and control scripts. If a marker starts scoring outside the expected range, the chief marker can take immediate action. The solution helps us to achieve accurate and unbiased marking."

The Authority aims to select markers that are currently teaching the course. Morup explains why, "It is really good professional development for teachers to experience the high standard of WACE examination marking. They learn to mark using the proper marking keys, which are the explicit statements about what the examiner expects of a candidate. They can take that knowledge back into their schools, back into their classrooms and use it to prepare their students better. It is one of our priorities in choosing markers."

"Travelling for a training course in marking is do-able for most teachers, but spending a few weeks away from home marking exams is less so. Online marking enables us to take the marking process across the remote regions of Western Australia, while we can still closely monitor the quality and the process. We have international schools that do our courses and the online solution allows us to also include markers that are based overseas. So they can benefit as well, " continues Jasper.

"An additional benefit is the safety and security of online marking. There is no risk of losing scripts. Having the scripts online is much safer and far more convenient."

Jasper finds the ability to split an exam into sections very beneficial, "It gives you a lot more choices of how you are going to mark an exam and who is going to mark which section. We can configure the program ourselves to split an exam into sections, for example combine questions 1, 5 and 8 in a section because they all relate to a particular mathematics concept, or separate short answers from extended responses. We can give markers those particular sections that they are specialized in. The examination scripts are still available intact, so we can still look at the whole paper as well."

"The ability to monitor the standard of marking as it is occurring is exceptionally important"

Conclusion

Morup says of the implementation, "It was an absolutely smooth transition and the implementation of the new system went exceptionally well. It worked very successfully right from the beginning. The team from BOSTES was very responsive. They listened to us, understood our requirements and adapted the program where needed. It was excellent. The success of any project is the communication."

"The training and the manuals for the chief markers were extensive and relevant. The additional background information that BOSTES provided was also very interesting and helpful. The chief markers particularly commented on the facility of real-time monitoring of markers and the completeness of the reports. The only issue they had was that they didn't have enough time to try out all of the reports. But as they gain more experience next year, they will be able to explore more of the reporting," concludes Morup.

"It was an absolutely smooth transition and the implementation of the new system went exceptionally well"

Company and System Information

  • The Western Australia School Curriculum and Standards Authority develops and regulates school curriculum and assessment, sets standards and reports on those standards. The Authority serves students from kindergarten to year 12 in government and non-government schools in Western Australia and their teachers. For more information see: www.scsa.wa.edu.au
  • The Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards NSW develops curriculum and awards secondary school credentials. The Board serves government and non-government schools in the development of NSW school education for years K-12. For more information visit: www.boardofstudies.nsw.edu.au

News: Civica chooses MarkManager for global roll-out

Civica logoOnline examination marking technology from NSW has been chosen by Civica to fulfil a significant multi-million pounds sterling global online marking contract.

Civica, a UK-based leader in software, technology and business process services, will manage the use of MarkManager for online marking of a leading skills proficiency test sat by over one million candidates per year.

Developed by the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards (BOSTES) and commercialised with the assistance of technology partner LANSA Pty Ltd, MarkManager delivers best practice marking.

Lee Burley, Managing Director Education, Civica UK Limited, said “The BOSTES MarkManager has a proven long term record of delivering exam results on time and is widely recognised as a ‘new generation’ market leader in its field.”

“We selected MarkManager for a number of reasons, including its support for a model of frequent test sittings throughout the year in a controlled environment. We have found that BOSTES has excellent domain knowledge and is responsive to our special requirements.”

Civica is an ideal UK-based partner for BOSTES because of its strong presence in education, its excellent track record of reliability and its experience gained from supplying software and services to over 6,000 schools, colleges and libraries around the world. Civica with an annual revenue of over £220 million has sufficient scale and availability of resources to fulfil the large contracts that increasingly MarkManager is being considered for.

Civica will provide MarkManager to its clients on a Software as a Service (SaaS) basis.

BOSTES President Tom Alegounarias said “In NSW BOSTES uses MarkManager for its internationally recognised Higher School Certificate (HSC) examinations.

“For the 2014 HSC of nearly 5000 markers, around 2000 marked online. Together the markers marked over two million writing booklets completed by nearly 77,000 students across 116 courses.

“In 2014 the first exam was on Monday 13 October. The last exam was on Thursday 5 November. Marking ended at 9pm on Wednesday 26 November, and results were released at 6am on Wednesday 17 December.

“MarkManager is a great innovation which facilitated BOSTES meeting this tight timeframe” Mr Alegounarias said.

MarkManager provides senior markers – who supervise teams of markers – with a number of sophisticated quality assurance tools not available in pen-and-paper marking. Any errors can be detected and corrected immediately, saving significant time and improving the marking process. Examination responses are distributed randomly and anonymously, and markers can review their marks at any time.

Furthermore, senior markers are able to supervise their teams of markers in real time – this is a level of quality assurance not available with pen-and-paper marking, and the application immediately stops markers, who do not adhere to the marking guidelines, from marking.

About Civica

Civica generates revenues of £220 million per annum.

Every day Civica’s products and services help more than 1 million professionals in their jobs, streamlining service delivery to more than 80 million citizens and businesses. Civica is delivering to:

  • 1,000 local organisations
  • 6,000 schools, colleges and libraries
  • 400 health and care providers
  • 200 social housing organisations
  • 75% of the UK’s blue-light services.

Civica’s systems are used to manage:

  • £90 billion of funds or expenditure
  • £1.5 billion in secure electronic payments
  • 2 million properties
  • Access to day-to-day applications for 1 million students
  • Vehicle fleets totalling more than 250,000 vehicles
  • 200 million library loans
  • Pension schemes with a total of over 600,000 members.

Case study about the development of MarkManager's first version

The Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards NSW (BOSTES) is the certifying authority responsible for the content of syllabus materials, registration of non-government schools, and delivery of high school examinations for New South Wales, the most populous state in Australia. LANSA's development and integration tools have been at the heart of the Board's IT infrastructure since 1989. Recently the Board chose LANSA to develop and deliver an onscreen marking application as part of its eAssessment program. Onscreen marking allows markers to view and mark onscreen a scanned image of students' written exam responses, or the students' responses entered or spoken online.

Mitra Bhar, Manager IT at BOSTES, says "It is important that we continue to investigate how advances in technology can provide improvements in our examination and assessment programs. LANSA's technology and the IBM i platform help us to provide accurate, highly reliable and secure solutions to meet the requirements of our core business."

"LANSA's technology and the IBM i platform help us to provide accurate, highly reliable and secure solutions"

  1. The Logistics of Exams
  2. Marking Procedures
  3. Onscreen Marking
  4. The Benefits
  5. Conclusion
  6. Company and System Information

The Logistics of Exams

The two main qualifications which BOSTES administers are the School Certificate (SC) and Higher School Certificate (HSC). In recent years over 87,000 Year 10 students took part in the SC examinations and over 68,000 Year 12 students in the HSC examinations. Most of these students take at least six examinations. Recent HSC exams included over 110 different examinations for a wide variety of subject courses. Students worked from 13 million printed pages of questions and submitted their answers in 1.75 million writing booklets.

The setting, conduct and marking of the examinations is a huge logistical task, which involves over 5,000 examination supervisors at 750 exam centers, 7,000 markers assessing practical and written examinations at over 20 marking centers across the state, and more than 750 casual clerical staff.

The appointment system for exam supervisors and markers and the collection of the actual marks has been managed with a LANSA-based solution for many years, but the marking process itself, except for multiple choice exams, was mostly paper-based.

The marking process consumes a significant proportion of BOSTES’ annual budget. Accordingly, streamlining the marking process can have a major effect on the BOSTES’ cost-effectiveness.

"The setting, conduct and marking of the examinations is a huge logistical task"

Marking Procedures

In order to assure a fair outcome for all students, the marking process for written exams is highly structured and sophisticated. The process involves chief examiners, who have been involved in designing the exam, supervisors of Marking, who manage the marking operation in a subject marking center, senior markers, who are typically teachers with extensive marking experience and markers, who are experienced teachers or academics.

After being briefed about marking guidelines by the chief examiner and supervisor of marking, the senior markers will develop a marking kit for the exam section they are responsible for. A section can consist of one or more questions. There are usually at least two senior markers for each exam section. To develop the kit, they first read through a large number of actual scripts (the written responses by students) to get a feeling for the exam at a practical level.

The marking kit needs to include at least one complete set of scoring benchmark examples, such as scripts scoring ‘5 out of 5', ‘4 out of 5' and so on. The kit also contains detailed marking guidelines and sample markings. The kit is then tested by other senior markers, again on a representative sample of actual scripts. During this process ‘marking reliability statistics' are calculated to demonstrate whether a kit is working well, or whether further fine-tuning is needed. None of the marking during this process, which may take several days, is final.

Next the markers arrive at the marking centers to prepare for and do the real marking. Again, each marker is responsible for only a specific question or section of the exam. Markers first need to go through a number of ‘practice scripts' to get them on the same level of marking as the senior marker has set out. When a marker consistently marks in the expected range on the practice scripts, he or she is ready to start marking real scripts.

The senior marker, who looks after a team of 5 to 10 markers, will randomly insert so called ‘common scripts' in between the real scripts, which serve to check and make sure that the markers stay fresh and accurate and keep marking within the intended range.

Extended responses and essays are marked independently by two markers and the final mark is the average of the two. If the two marks vary by more than one third of the maximum mark, a third marking will be undertaken, and a senior marker will determine a 'resolved mark'.

"The marking process for written exams is highly structured and sophisticated"

Onscreen Marking

Muir Mathieson, Senior IT Consultant, BOSTES, and technical project leader for the Onscreen Marking System, explains, "The onscreen marking process begins with the color scanning of the writing booklets or question and answer booklets the students have submitted and, using LANSA's integration tool (LANSA Integrator), upload them in PDF format into the IBM i-based marking system."

"In that process, a custom written LANSA Integrator PDF service takes care that the number of pages is validated, that student and exam center identification details are masked and that the page images are reassembled as required for marking, so that a marker only gets to see the exam section he or she needs to mark. The LANSA Integrator service also sets the PDF properties and saves the documents to their proper file name."

Authorized markers can access the scanned scripts remotely over the Internet, or from one of the marking centers, with the BOSTES’ browser-based Onscreen Marking System, developed with LANSA high level language. The system has specific functionality for each of the main roles associated with the marking process: markers, senior markers and supervisors of markers.

The system allows markers to set preferences for their comfort based on the equipment they are using, such as left or right mark boxes or buttons. Markers can view a list of all the scripts they have been working on that day or previous days. They can add notes for themselves or for immediate attention of their senior marker. They also have the ability to search through all the scripts they have marked using several different search criteria, making it very easy to locate scripts they need to revisit. The system navigates the markers efficiently through the work that needs to be marked, automatically and randomly serving up the next script.

Senior markers have additional functions. They can annotate and upload benchmark examples and practice scripts, and set up a frequency for inserting common scripts in between the real scripts. They have a real-time dashboard view of what their markers are doing and can go to any script to look at the marker's notes and marks awarded.

"Marking deviations in the practice and common scripts are shown in color, making it easy to discuss variations and interpretation of the marking scheme with that marker. Markers who are consistently ‘on-target' need not be distracted or taken off the task. Similarly, it's also easy to supervise new markers and decide whether they need to be given more practice scripts or have them start on the real scripts," says Mathieson.

The system allows markers and senior markers to exchange messages. This is helpful when a marker needs assistance or wants the opinion of the senior marker about a certain script. Likewise, the senior marker may feel the need to comment on the marking of a certain script and send an instantaneous message to the marker. The messaging system is especially helpful for remote marking, allowing teachers to mark at home.

At any time, the senior markers can view statistics. They can see how the spread of markings for their exam section is evolving, how many scripts are marked and still need to be marked, how much time markers spend on average and on individual scripts.

All internet traffic is encrypted using SSL 128-bit encryption and no marks ever reside on the marker's desktop. All data (including scripts) are replicated across to a second IBM i server in real-time with each server residing in separate data centers.

Not directly related to the Onscreen Marking System, but part of the same exam system, is the digital recording of oral language exams. This is still at a trial stage for main languages, but already implemented for some language exams. At the point of examination the student sits in front of a computer that is connected to the BOSTES’ examination system. After photo identification, the student's response is digitally recorded and for some exams, marks are entered immediately. Once the exam is over, the examiner submits the digital recording and marks to BOSTES’ IBM i-based exam system, where LANSA Integrator takes care of the receiving, naming and storing of the file in MP3 format. The digitally recorded exams can then go through a similar marking process as the written scripts, using exactly the same application with modified terminology.

"Using LANSA Integrator, we have been able to create a highly sophisticated application, where PDF and MP3 files are fully integrated with our IBM i-based core examination system," says Mathieson.

"We have created a highly sophisticated application, where PDF and MP3 files are fully integrated"

The Benefits

Kevin Ford, Manager, Student Support Services Branch at BOSTES, says, "The Onscreen Marking System provides instantaneous marker reliability data and promotes objective and consistent marking. The same strict procedures apply to both paper-based marking and onscreen marking, but the procedures are easier to apply and manage in the onscreen solution."

"Having a real-time view of marking and having the tools and statistics available to spot deviations, allows senior markers to take immediate corrective action. In the paper-based system it could happen that a large batch of scripts would have to be re-marked, as it could take a while for the senior marker to notice that someone was marking outside the range," continues Ford.

"Another advantage is that the script and notes can be separated, which is good when a script needs to be objectively re-marked. In that case you don't want a marker to be influenced by the notes and comments made by someone else. Likewise, the fact that the marker only gets to see the section of the exam that he or she is responsible for, also encourages objective marking."

The common scripts are more effective in the onscreen marking process, because markers cannot differentiate them from the real scripts. In the paper-based system you could recognize them, because they are photo copies while the real scripts are originals. "Although it should theoretically not make a difference to the markers that they are marking a common script, in reality they may give that script extra attention, because they know it will be monitored. Now, every script is marked entirely on its own merits, making for a fairer and more equitable outcome for all students," says Ford.

Not being dependent on paper-based procedures allows BOSTES to draw on a larger pool of eligible markers. It is also very useful for teachers to gain practical experience with the marking process, so they can better prepare their students for the exams. As traditional paper-based marking requires markers to come to a marking center, the distance made it impractical for many country teachers to participate. "Now we can give them Internet access and support them with online practice scripts, marking kits and messaging. We can even involve teachers who teach the HSC at overseas schools and colleges," explains Ford.

"The markers are extremely positive about onscreen marking, because of the convenience, the potential for reducing the movement of large quantities of paper and the quick feedback on their marking," says Ford. "There is also a firm belief that the system is fairer and more equitable for the students."

"The logistics involved in securely distributing, storing and collecting nearly two million paper-based writing booklets are staggering," concludes Ford. "It is a far neater and easier-to-manage process to provide secure access to scripts that are kept on our own server. The solution is also more cost effective."

"The Onscreen Marking System provides instantaneous marker reliability data"

Conclusion

The Onscreen Marking System is part of a wider eAssessment initiative. The eAssessment also includes a Computers-in-Exams (CIE) initiative, which allows for exams to be conducted and marked online, eliminating the need for hand-written responses altogether. Some of the HSC computing exams are already conducted online. When given a choice, a significant proportion of students would prefer to use a computer for their exam rather than hand-writing.

BOSTES has conducted extensive trials for all eAssessment initiatives, comparing paper-based marking with onscreen marking and handwritten scripts with online exams. Reactions to the CIE initiatives have been very positive from students, teachers and markers.

Bhar, says, "We have tried our Onscreen Marking System with the exam papers from schools in other states and other countries and also with the examinations of universities. The system works equally well in those scenarios."

"Looking at the international experience, onscreen marking and e-Assessment are the way of the future, It is important that we continue to investigate how technology can provide improvements in the assessment and examination programs."

"The services we provide are highly visible and critical to the smooth administration of our examinations. We cannot afford to make any mistakes. LANSA's technology and the IBM i platform help us to provide accurate, highly reliable and secure solutions to meet the requirements of our core business. With a small in-house team and using LANSA's productive high level development tool, we can support a system that can be used by virtually all teachers and students in NSW or elsewhere," concludes Bhar.

"With a small in-house team we can support a system that can be used by virtually all teachers and students in NSW or elsewhere"

Company and System Information

  • The Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards NSW (BOSTES) is the certifying authority responsible for the content of syllabus materials, registration of non-government schools, and delivery of high school examinations for New South Wales, the most populous state in Australia. Using LANSA since 1989, the BOSTES development team has delivered many systems, such as online services to schools, teachers, students and parents. These include the delivery of HSC results over the Web and the collection of over 1.2 million grades and assessments and over 45 million responses and marks per year.
  • BOSTES uses an IBM Power 570 with the IBM i operating system.
  • With advice and assistance from LANSA, BOSTES has commercialized its Onscreen Marking System, now known as "MarkManager". Speak to your LANSA Account Manager, or email LANSA for more information.
  • For more information on BOSTES visit: www.boardofstudies.nsw.edu.au

Video of initial Board of Studies experience with on-screen marking

'Blown away', 'instantaneous revelation' and 'just the natural progression' are some of the terms senior markers use to describe the Board's ground-breaking onscreen marking system in 2009.

Their experiences are captured in a new six-minute video posted on the Board's Markers Online webpages and designed to help other School Certificate and HSC markers understand a little more about this exciting new process.