16.      Anonymity

16.1   ‘Anonymity’ is defined as the use of an identifier, which cannot be related to a student’s name without reference to a central register or other mechanism, in the assessment process. An identifier is adopted in order to: avoid unconscious and conscious bias in marking, respect student confidentiality, and ensure fairness when progression and award decisions are made; however, it does not necessarily mean that it is impossible for a member of staff to uncover the identity of a particular student.

16.2   Members of staff must respect anonymity where it is employed and not identify, or seek to identify, students unless it is a requirement of their role or there is a clear benefit to the student in doing so e.g. the provision of specific feedback to the student, the correct treatment of extenuating circumstances.

16.3   Where students might be identifiable e.g. because they are part of a very small cohort or they have an unusual pattern of study, anonymity must be respected as for any other student.

16.4   Schools are responsible for informing students of how they should identify their work.  

16.5   It is the responsibility of students to employ the anonymity mechanisms provided to them.

16.6   Decisions with respect to the preservation of anonymity should be taken by the chair of the relevant examination board.

The marking of credit-bearing ‘summative’ assessment of learning

16.7   All summative assessment should be anonymous when it is marked where that is possible and practicable (e.g. not for viva voce examinations such as interviews and presentations), and consistent with the assessment and its objectives.

16.8   The marks awarded for summative assessments should be released individually to students.  

16.9   Specific moderation techniques must be used for non-anonymous summative assessments e.g. multiple markers.  

The marking of non-credit-bearing `formative’ assessment for learning

16.10   When designing formative assessment, priority should be given to the educational benefits of the assessment rather than anonymity, for example it should not interfere with the provision of feedback to students.

16.11   While anonymity is not required for formative assessment, it should still be preserved where that is possible, practicable, and consistent with the assessment and its objectives.

Boards of examiners

16.12   Anonymity must be preserved insofar as is practicable when marks are considered at boards of examiners.

16.13   Academic information with respect to extenuating circumstances (e.g. which assessments have been affected, the period of time affected by the circumstances, nature of the effect of the circumstances upon study) may be introduced in examination boards where that would be to a student’s advantage.

16.14   In exceptional cases, information about extenuating circumstances themselves may only be introduced in the Faculty Examination Board and only when all the following conditions are fulfilled:  it is to the student’s advantage; it is essential for a fair decision to be arrived at; permission is given by the chair of the Faculty Examination Board. Chairs of School Examination Boards may refer cases to the Faculty Examination Board where it is felt that consideration of a student’s progress or qualification may benefit from disclosure of the nature of the extenuating circumstance.