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The assessment challenge – an end-to-end solution

As some of my last posts have documented, Sussex University has been engaging in the provision of an end-to-end solution for online assessments. Our solution uses Turnitin and GradeMark as the technical infrastructure to support the project. We have presented the project at the Dublin Moodlemoot conference and the Assessment in Higher Education conference and have a poster describing it.


All first year undergraduate modules with text based assignments are now using this system which runs through our learning management system (LMS). Next year all first and second years will be submitting online and the following year all undergraduates will submit online.

For students we have created a one stop shop.

For staff we have employed technology which adheres to write once, read anywhere philosophy.

Our technical development put the user experience at the top of the design considerations. Students submit through our LMS where they also see Turnitin similarity reports and pick up grades and feedback.

Staff find their students submissions and the Turnitin similarity reports in the LMS. They link from these into Grademark where they grade and leave feedback for the students. They update the LMS and student records system (SRS) with their grades at the click of a button.

Final calculation and conflation of the marks is done through the SRS which holds all the business rules, but these marks accessible to students through the LMS interface.

The system we have produced is easy to use, robust and removes duplication of effort.

Please contact us if you have any questions or comments.


  1. Joseph Thibault
    Posted July 15, 2015 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    Paolo, I’d be curious to know volume, how quickly students get feedback, etc. for the grading and evaluation of submitted work. Thoughts?

  2. Paolo Oprandi
    Posted July 15, 2015 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the question, Joseph.

    I’ll get back to you with some figures shortly.

  3. Paolo Oprandi
    Posted July 21, 2015 at 10:36 am | Permalink


    Sussex is a campus university of approximately fifteen thousand students

    This year we had fifteen and a half thousand submissions spread over one hundred and eighty seven assessments. The largest submission date had one thousand four hundred submissions.

    Next year we are expecting an additional seventeen and a half thousand submissions and the following year we are expecting a similar increase.

    So in summary in the 16/17 academic year we are expecting around fifty thousand submissions. On any given assessment day we may get as many as six thousand submissions.

    Students tend submit in the last couple of hours of the assessment deadline and they tend to delete their submission and re-upload a number of times with minor corrections.

    With regards to feedback turnaround, most assessment types require the manual release of feedback by tutors, however this is expected within three weeks of the assessment deadline. Some assessments have planned release which is within usually within three weeks as well.

    I’d be interested to know your thoughts on this and our solution.

    Thanks Paolo

  4. Posted July 21, 2015 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    It’s great info, Paolo. We’re in a similar volume at StraighterLine and use turnitin as well all managed through Moodle and a custom workflow block that we created. 

    It’s nice to know that other orgs are putting a lot of thought into making it easy for students to submit and providing feedback.

  5. Paolo Oprandi
    Posted July 23, 2015 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Hi Joseph,

    Have you any more information about custom turnitin workflow block? I’d be interested to know more.

    Thanks Paolo

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