On-screen marking of scanned candidate responses

On-screen marking (OSM) is a critical phase when marks are awarded to each candidate for their responses.

The on-screen marking component extracts the relevant response areas from scanned images and presents them to remote examiners for clerical marking in a secure, online environment.

Alternatively, captured data is indexed and exported to third-party on-screen marking solutions.

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  • Cambridge English Logo
  • British Council Logo
  • Btl Logo
  • University Of Northumbria At Newcastle Logo

    Mark candidate responses on screen

    The on screen marking (OSM) system facilitates on-screen marking for short and long text responses to complement the work of human examiners.

    Accessed by web browser, the on-screen marking software automatically identifies the answer paper and extracts the relevant response areas from scanned images, presenting them to remote examiners for clerical marking in a secure, online environment. Invalid or unreadable responses will be shown to a marker for manual marking.

    Markers are presented with an ‘Overview’ screen which shows their statistics and provides access to the ‘notice board’ and support messaging system.

    Item level marking

    Marking is carried out at item level rather than candidate level with markers able to view entire screens containing one question type (instead of one paper). This helps to identify incorrect responses quickly and expedites the marking process. It also reduces the effect of bias as each item on a candidate’s paper is marked by a different marker.

    Once a marker has marked a pre-defined number of items, they are allocated a new question to prevent fatigue.

    This approach to marking replaces whole script marking and reduces the effects of marker subjectivity.


    Bulk item entry

    If all responses displayed contain a correct answer, markers will be able to submit ‘correct marks for all’. Where there are incorrect responses, markers can flag these before submitting. The dashboard can also handle long item marking and multiple marks for relevant items.

    The feedback from the team in terms of the on-screen marking solution was very positive and the consensus was that it was very user friendly and intuitive to use.

    Operations Manager, International Assessment Organisation

    Submitting marks

    Once markers have completed a screen (i.e. indicated every response displayed to be correct or incorrect), they will be able to click a button to submit marks. If a marker attempts to submit without marking each candidate, an explanatory warning is displayed.

    After ‘marks’ have been submitted for a screen, the process is repeated until all marking is finished. When a marker has finished their allocated marking and there are no more responses to mark, a message is displayed.

    Team management

    The system includes four different user types and each has different capabilities. The team structure, hierarchy and responsibilities are outlined below:

    • admin user: can view statistics, manage users, team/products and system;
    • team leader: can view team/marker statistics, manage queues, release marks, manage users and manage settings;
    • monitor: can monitor errors/discrepancies by item and make judgments or issue re-scan requests if required; and
    • marker: can mark items and view their marker statistics.

    Quality control

    Throughout, marking quality assurance rules are automatically enforced across a session, with doublemarking, error rates, marker probation periods, escalations and hierarchical marker monitoring built into the workflow. This enables you to identify training requirements and adhere to marking policies by only releasing accurate marks.

    Remote marking

    The on screen marking solution is accessed via a web browser with markers able to work remotely from home rather than travel to a marking centre.

    We work with

    • IELTS Logo
    • Mark Manager
    • Janison Logo
    • Nesa Logo

      On-screen marking benefits

      Reduced lead-out times

      Physical scripts are scanned at the venue shortly after an exam rather than transported back for manual marking or scanning via a document scanning bureau. This means marking can commence sooner with results issued in days rather than weeks or months!

      Correct grading

      High stakes exams have a direct impact on the candidate sitting the test. Consequently, it is important they receive the correct marks.

      On-screen marking systems set quality assurance controls (i.e. double marking, error rates, marker probation periods, escalations and hierarchical marker monitoring) across marking sessions to offer peace of mind to candidates that marking is fair and accurate.

      Monitor marker performance

      Assessors and invigilators can monitor marker performance throughout the marking session in real-time to reduce clerical marking errors and adhere to marking policies.

      Eliminate marker bias

      All candidate information e.g. name/number/centre is removed, so answer scripts are marked anonymously and randomly distributed between examiners.

      Individual papers are split by section or question with each assigned to different markers. This ensures no candidate is ever in the hands of only a single marker.

      Instant support

      An integrated ‘notice board’ and support messaging system allows guidance to be quickly disseminated to the marking team and provides team members with a way of communicating any problems back to team leaders.

      Integration with third-party applications

      eXam can integrate with third-party scanning and/or marking applications via web services. Once the system has captured images and indexed the responses, the data will be made available.

      Typically, we can send images of scanned pages with meta-data containing the indexing and response data for each image.

      Highly secure platform

      eXam offers single sign on (SSO) and worldwide centre logins can be integrated with existing user directories or authentication.

      If required, penetration testing by a third party can be arranged to highlight any potential security threats and vulnerabilities.

      Case studies

      • Civica



        Following a OJEU tender process, the British Council commissioned Civica as the prime contractor to deliver an on-screen marking (OSM) solution to mark up to 2.25 million ‘pen and paper’ IELTS tests each year.

        As part of the agreement, Civica appointed ePC as its sub-contractor for the script capture, processing and verification work.

      • Cambridge English

        Cambridge English


        Expert in language assessment automates paper-based assessments with OMR exam processing and on-screen marking system.

        Read more

      • Northumbria University

        Northumbria University


        Leading UK university uses TeleForm to design, scan and verify OMR answer sheets from undergraduate and postgraduate examinations.