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Exam marking

(5 Posts)
sallycinamon Sat 26-Sep-09 09:10:56


Is anyone out there an exam marker for GCSE?

I'm a teacher and considering looking into it.

Do you have to be in a teaching position to do it or is it enough to be a trained and experienced teacher?

What's the money like?!


scaryteacher Sat 26-Sep-09 11:27:32

I do it for Edexcel GCSE RE.

The money isn't fantastic and it is hard work.
The exam I mark is all done on line, and it kills the eyes. If I was still teaching, I wouldn't be doing it. It was one thing marking actual physical scripts, which you could peer at if a meaning wasn't clear; that you could take to school, lock your door and mark in a free; and as long as everything was marked on time, you didn't get hassled. You also went to London for standardisation, so you could pick holes in the mark scheme and ask for clarification from others around, and generally feel more secure in what you were doing.

Now: standardisation is online - the mark scheme is as it is, and you have to try and apply it. You get to practice the mark scheme; but then you have to qualify (pass the standardisation questions) to be able to mark.

If you fail on one of the questions, then you lose your bonus payment (this is not made clear) which is also your incentive payment for marking on time. Bang goes your will to get things finished.

Moreover, if you haven't marked as many as think you should have done, you get telephone calls about it. For instance, the subject I mark has two papers; most students do the first for a half GCSE, some do both for a full. These papers are sat within a week of each other. The timeframe for standardising and marking the second paper begins before the deadline for the first paper being completed. I was given an extra allocation of marking for the first paper that was not in my contract; I kept getting calls saying, you haven't marked 'x'. I said I wasn't contracted for it,and wasn't marking it until I had a written assurance I would be paid. That arrived a day later on email. I then got a call saying you are behind on 'x'..... even though I'd only just got the contract to mark it!

Same sort of thing with the second paper; you haven't started marking paper 'b'. I'm finishing 'a'. But you're behind....and?

I do it to keep my hand in (cpd) if you like, as I am currently abroad and not teaching. It also pays the fees for my MA. I can fit it in as I am not working, but when I was teaching, I came home, did planning and marking for school, and THEN sat down to do the exam marking. Bed before 0230 is a rarity when you are trying to mark GCSEs after school and on top of your normal workload.

Plus points - it informs your teaching no end; you can teach exam technique much more effectively as you know what you are looking for as an examiner; and when you tell your students that the examiners are looking for certain things, they believe you because you are one.

Money wise for the exam session in June, which consists of money for having a broadband connection; standardisation fees; and the actual marking and bonuses (although I didn't get one of the bonuses) was £1482.26 net. However, that was 6 weeks work. I get more as I can reclaim the tax as I am a SAHM at the moment.

You could do it for a couple of years, but I'm not sure I will do it from 2011 as the new syllabuses will be being examined them and I haven't taught them. However, ds's school doesn't teach RE, so he may end doing an extra curricular GCSE RE so that I can say I've taught the new syllabus and have a student's exam result to prove it!

Hope that helps.

sallycinamon Sat 26-Sep-09 13:51:00

Thanks for that really informative post scaryteacher!

I'm a languages teacher and have just returned from maternity leave after having my second child. I'm 0.4 but I'm in 3 days a week meaning we need 3 full days of childcare for our baby (My eldest has just started school). I'm struggling to find time to put the necessary work in and tbh am not enjoying the teaching either (got two horrible year 9 groups!). Those factors coupled with the fact that by the time childcare has been paid I will earn about £3000 this year is making me seriously question whether I should be doing it. I think I would be better off looking after my kids myself.

On the other hand it feels like such a huge decision to quit but doing something like exam marking would mean I would be keeping my hand in and earning a bit too.

Do you intend to return to teaching?

fatzak Sat 26-Sep-09 14:11:43

Sally - I marked GCSE French speaking tests a whiles ago for AQA. I had a couple of years off when I had DS but since I have tried to get back into it, I have had no luck. I think that when a lot of it went electronic, there was less need for markers. I also heard and have no idea if this is true or not, that a lot of the AQA stuff is now marked abroad to reduce costs. Now that the GCSE is changing, I'm not sure how it'll change re marking now that there's no long the externally moderated speaking but coursework will be.

Would be interested to hear if you find out about applying as I may give it another shot smile

scaryteacher Sat 26-Sep-09 17:50:57

It depends on the Royal Navy really Sally - I am abroad with my dh who is serving overseas, and I left my job in 2006. If he gets another overseas job I will be here until 2014, so will have been out of teaching for 8 years at that point. I was M5 when I left, so I don't know if I would be too old and too expensive to employ - I'll be 48 in 2014.

I was looking at jobs in the West Country the other day (where my home is) and there weren't many around. Given that Devon has just made 100 teachers redundant, I think staying out here a bit longer is a good idea.

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