For a brief discussion of issues related to marking, see Yorke et al. (2000) and Brown (2001).
The purpose of feedback is to give information to students regarding their strengths and weaknesses in the areas covered by the formative assessments. It is also an opportunity to justify the mark/grade awarded.
This is a huge and increasingly worrying issue for assessors, given in particular the ever-increasing use of the internet as a learning resource. Even under strict invigilation conditions, it is not impossible for students to give and receive ‘answers’ to questions in computer-based examinations.
Rust (2001) contains an extensive review of issues related to assessment of large groups. The concern is that the ever-decreasing staff–student ratios are likely to reduce the quality of assessment and the amount of formative assessment, thereby reducing the amount and quality of feedback that a student can obtain about his/her strengths and areas that need further work.