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Exam Marking

(37 Posts)
lineandsinker Wed 19-Jun-19 21:35:04

I started exam marking for the first time this week but am really struggling with the time it is taking.

I'm a full-time teacher and on top of that, i'm 31 weeks pregnant (I applied for the examiner role and was contracted before falling pregnant). I thought I could manage but this is my first pregnancy so didn't really anticipate how i'd feel at this point!

Coming home every night to do 4 hours of marking on top of my day at work is exhausting me - I don't even want to think about the hours i'll need to put in at the weekend. My final deadline is the middle of July so I've got another 3 weeks to get through yet.

I don't think i'm being fair to myself, my baby or the students' whose exams I am marking. I'm doing the exam marking for the CPD rather than the money so am thinking of withdrawing from marking.

Am I leaving the exam board up the creek and what would be the implications for me? I'm assuming i'll be blacklisted by them from marking in the future.

OP’s posts: |
Teachermaths Wed 19-Jun-19 21:43:48

Don't stress about it. If you can't do it, you can't do it. Email your supervisor and explain how you are feeling.

What subject and how far through are you?

There's always people willing to take on extra so I wouldn't worry.

Cynderella Wed 19-Jun-19 21:47:51

People give up all the time. I've done it twice for personal reasons. It was in the days of old when they would send pink sacks for you to shove the papers in and post back. The relief.

There are always markers who want more scripts. I trebled my allocation one year when I had the time and needed the money. If you tell the board, they will be fine. They would prefer you to mark some, but if you can't they will understand.

Whatever you do, tell your team leader you're struggling and, if you decide to give up, tell the board sooner rather than later.

You'll still be asked back - they need us.

WhenZogateSuperworm Wed 19-Jun-19 21:50:59

What subject are you marking? Is there a reason why you are needing to dedicate 4 hours a night to it?

I am currently exam marking with a toddler and a newborn. I mark 7:30-9pm every evening and plan to do 4 hours on a weekend. I can easily finish all my papers by doing this for the 2.5 week time allowance.

I’ve just finished marking paper 1 4 days ahead of schedule and will start paper 3 next week. Every year there are loads of extra scripts available after the deadline and so there must be plenty of markers that don’t finish.

hormonesorDHbeingadick Wed 19-Jun-19 21:55:43

If it is one of your performance management targets then you can do it in gain time.

Cynderella Wed 19-Jun-19 22:06:28

It depends on subject. I'm marking A' Level Lit and it's not quick, especially when you're new to it. My friend marks Chemistry and whizzes through questions.

WhenZogateSuperworm Wed 19-Jun-19 22:09:14

@Cynderella but the number of scripts you mark should reflect this. I mark GCSE maths and can I visibly make a lot quicker than someone doing English. But I have a much higher quota to account for this. I am also paid less per script.

WhenZogateSuperworm Wed 19-Jun-19 22:09:32

*obviously not visibly!

Cynderella Wed 19-Jun-19 22:14:53

Yes, I mark fewer scripts than you, but English is very subjective and when you're new to it, reading over essays and judging against AOs takes a long time. I'm a week in and have picked up speed but that's after years of marking.

With Maths, you get into a rhythm of marking faster, I think. If OP is marking questions where there is extended writing, I think it's a harder job when you're new to it.

WhenZogateSuperworm Wed 19-Jun-19 22:17:35

@Cynderella oh definitely. I’ve been marking for 5 years now and am much quicker than I used to be.

CanILeavenowplease Wed 19-Jun-19 22:18:44

I let down an exam board at the 11th hour last year because my mum was ill and I simply couldn’t manage everything. I expected never to be asked again and hey presto, am marking this year! Be honest. It happens and the exam boards are used to it.

WhenZogateSuperworm Wed 19-Jun-19 22:19:54

@Cynderella just out of interest what is your quota and time allowance this year?

Mine was 485 and I had 19 days to finish them.

BelulahBlanca Wed 19-Jun-19 22:23:58

4 hours is a lot. I’m doing 2 and a half when the baby is in bed. Could you lighten the load a bit and see how you get on? But as others have said they will have people wanting more papers.
I done it last year at about 30 weeks with my first baby and struggled to find the energy as I was working full time and had an hour commute on the bus. I am an experienced marker and still struggled.

Cynderella Wed 19-Jun-19 22:24:52

Roughly 175 scripts and 21 days. I used to mark GCSE and it was hundreds over a similar period.

BelulahBlanca Wed 19-Jun-19 22:24:56

Obviously I mean “I did it” too long on maternity leave in Norfolk. grin

Cat0115 Wed 19-Jun-19 22:30:34

I pulled out this year. Husband suddenly away for 3 weeks with work. I'm a Hod and SLT so I just couldn't do the lone parenting and this. Tell them sooner rather than later. I was marking Lit. 22 papers per day. Unsustainable!

lineandsinker Wed 19-Jun-19 22:33:38

Thanks for all your helpful responses!

I’m marking GCSE English Language. Got around 1000 responses to mark which works out to around 150 scripts in total?

The 1 and 2 mark questions, which would arguably have sped things up, haven’t been allocated to the main team of markers (no idea who are marking those!). Instead, I’m marking the 6, 12, 22 and 45 mark questions. Everything is subjective and most responses need to be read through several times carefully before a judgement can be made. Some essay responses are 6+ pages long!

To hit my 4 marking deadlines, I need to mark around 40 responses per day. I’ve just finished for the night and I started at 5.45pm with a 20 min break for dinner.

OP’s posts: |
Cynderella Wed 19-Jun-19 23:13:26

OP, I used to mark GCSE. I've marked Lit and Lang and there are pros and cons with each paper. I used to get sacks from schools, and some had so many weak EAL students that it would take forever to work out what they were trying to say. And yes, sometimes, they would write pages and pages.

At least we got whole papers whereas now you get questions. If you want to continue, work out how many you can mark and tell them to reallocate however many are left. If you want to give up, tell them.

JustTheCrowsAndTheBeef Thu 20-Jun-19 06:11:52

I can well believe that 40 responses per evening could take 4 hours. That’s only an average of six minutes per question.

TeenTimesTwo Thu 20-Jun-19 06:12:18

May I ask a question?
Do they only send you scripts from a region different to where you live?

And if not, presumably they don't send scripts from your own school?
What if you were tutoring a child locally and you recognised their handwriting and distinctive spelling style?

Waffles80 Thu 20-Jun-19 06:16:07

Hi OP. I’ve marked the new GCSE twice - did my full allocation one year, but had to drop out last year because it was just too much for my family to have me squirrelled away marking for hours. Fantastic CPD though!

Waffles80 Thu 20-Jun-19 06:21:13

No sending of scripts anymore @TeenTimesTwo.

All papers and each question is scanned and bar-coded; we mark on screen using an encrypted software. You let the exam board know where you live / teach and the locations of any other exam students you are connected to. To apply to mark you need a reference etc so the system is quite rigorous.

The chances of seeing a scanned-in answer and recognising the handwriting if the above system failed are minute. Each answer is totally anonymous - and there are very few questions where pupils would write their names (say, if they’re asked to write a letter).

We mark question by question, and there are intermittent ‘seed’ answers, ones marked by the senior examiner. If you give the seed the wrong marks then you get stopped from marking that question and you have to speak to your team leader to unpick where you went wrong. Repeated stops result in being asked to stop marking for good.

TeenTimesTwo Thu 20-Jun-19 06:40:15

Thanks Waffles (I knew it wasn't real scripts really). I thought there must be a system to stop you marking scripts from kids you know, but it came up in conversation the other day.

Can non teachers mark? (maths)

Waffles80 Thu 20-Jun-19 06:46:05

I’m not sure, but I don’t think so.

JustTheCrowsAndTheBeef Thu 20-Jun-19 06:51:54

Teen No. You usually have to be qualified (or able to show an equivalent) and have at least three terms' teaching experience within the last three years.

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