We have become aware that some colleagues feel that there are unfair and unequal marking loads where module sizes (number of students) significantly differ.

Below is some guidance to address this problem, and also as a first step towards anonymous marking (likely to become a university policy in the next academic year).

The first principle is that marking workloads should be allocated pro-rata, according to the number of seminar groups taken by a particular member of staff, as this reflects the amount of time allocated to the module via WAMS.


Module XY123 has 113 students and 6 seminar groups. Three members of staff take seminars as follows:

Mohamed:  2 seminars. Group sizes 25 and 10

Keera: 3 seminars. Group sizes 18, 22 and 23

Ingrid: 1 seminar. Group size 15

The total number of seminar groups is 6, which becomes the denominator.

The marking workload (in assignments) should therefore be allocated as follows. The number in brackets is the number of students in the lecturer’s seminar group.

Mohamed: 2/6 x 113 = 37.666 = 38 (35)

Keera: 3/6 x 113 = 56.5 = 56 (63)

Ingrid: 1/6 x 113 = 18.8 = 19 (15)

The second principle is to decouple the lecturer from the students in his/her seminar group

Having work marked by someone who is relatively unknown to the student, and would be a small step towards anonymous marking.

Exceptions and practicalities

These notes are for guidance, and it is hoped that module teams can work together to arrive at an equitable workload allocation. There are some assessment types that will not be suitable for this treatment. There may also be practical difficulties where groups have already been set-up in Turnitin that are aligned specific seminar groups.

These guidance notes have been produced in response to reports of unfairness, and we want, as much as possible, to help facilitate an equitable distribution of work.