An examiner awards scheme, recognising “exceptional commitment” from exam markers is being set up to attract more teachers to the job, Schools Week reports.
The examiner awards will be established by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ), following their joint report with headteachers’ associations, and exam boards, warning that thousands more teachers are needed as examiners to meet a spike in demand from new GCSE and A-Level structures.
The report, due to be published on the 23rd of January, found that each summer 34,000 set and mark 8 million exams, for 2 million 15 to 19 year olds in the UK.
The report states that a move from modular to linear general qualifications may reduce overall demands for examiners as re-sits and multiple entries decrease, there will be sustained increased demand for examiners during the summer period.
The report’s authors also warned that national challenges with teacher recruitment may have an impact on examiner recruitment, as well as heavy workloads, which puts teachers off becoming examiners.
It is estimated that 7000 more examiners will be required by 2019 to meet the growing demand.
The JCQ’s examiner awards scheme will award individual examiners who have made a “sustained contribution to examining.”
People with three, five or ten or more years of consecutive examining service with the same exam board (dated from summer this year) will receive examiner awards.
Colleges will also be awarded examiner awards form next year, if they can show they are encouraging teachers to become examiners and support them to remain in the roles.
On hearing the news that JCQ was launching a scheme of this kind, Murphy, an emeritus professor at the University of Nottingham, said he was “90 per cent” positive about it.
“It sounds like a great idea but there are a couple of things that I would do differently,” he told Schools Week.
“It is a shame that the individual awards are more time services awards. It would be a bit more adventurous to try and pick out the real exceptional examiners in terms of performance instead of just years in the job.”
Murphy added that JCQ’s proposal will “exclude wider assessors” such as primary schools, who also place “enormous importance on assessing”. He said a scheme that “was more across the system” would be even better.
“Nevertheless this is definitely a step in the right direction. I’m really pleased that they have picked this up and are running with it,” he added.
Examiners, on average, earn about £1,000 a year before tax. A-level marking pays the highest at £5 a script, while examiners mark “more for less” for other qualifications such as GCSEs.