Cambridge Assessment, the non-profit exam marking offshoot of Cambridge University, has signed RM Plc to hook its freelance markers into a computerised assessment tool.
RM will be paid at least £21m over five years to install and manage the system, dealing with exam papers submitted by about eight million candidates in 150 countries every year.
After trialling the technology with RM last year, Cambridge decided on a full roll out, the firms said in a joint statement today.
The statement said on-screen marking improves the quality of exam marking. But an RM spokesman said they had not measured how much better electronic marking was. They could not say how much cheaper it was because it was "commercially sensitive".
Cambridge could manage markers' workloads better when papers were sent electronically and their marking could be comprehensively monitored for inconsistencies - such checks were only done at random on paper and post marking systems, said a spokesman for RM. ®