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aqa exam marking

Discussion in 'English' started by emilie2007, Jan 22, 2011.

  1. Hi all
    I have been accepted as a GCSE marker for AQA this summer. I've heard all kinds of stories, good and bad, about the process. I was hoping that those who had marked before could talk me through the process step by step. What should I expect? What support is there? What should I watch out for?
    Many thanks
  2. Hi all
    I have been accepted as a GCSE marker for AQA this summer. I've heard all kinds of stories, good and bad, about the process. I was hoping that those who had marked before could talk me through the process step by step. What should I expect? What support is there? What should I watch out for?
    Many thanks
  3. GloriaSunshine

    GloriaSunshine New commenter

    I haven't marked for two years and/because it's so different. You used to go to a meeting and, in your groups, read and discuss some scripts. The team leaders would tell you the agreed mark and explain the thinking behind it. In a good team, this was interesting andof some value. In a poor team, it was tedious and soul destroying because of one poor teacher who was way out of line right to the end. But it was only one day and with a bit of luck, there'd be a nice lunch.
    Then you'd go home, mark some scripts out of that pile of plastic sacks in the corner and send them off. Team leader would check them and ring you saying all is good, or point out where you're going wrong and ask for another ten. Then you would mark and send off a pack two or three times in the marking period. Nobody would tell you if your marking was in line after the first sample.
    Now, I believe, you do the standardising at home online rather than at a meeting. I gave up at that point because online marking was threatened and I can't be doing with that.
    In theory, your team leader should ring every week. In reality, few do but they should also be contactable if you have a problem. Be on the watch for your life going out of the window for a month. Before the scripts arrive, get your house cleaned and the kitchen cupboards full. Dig out those takeaway menus.
  4. captain_picard

    captain_picard New commenter

    It's a bloody nightmare...you won't have a life for 4 weeks. They contact you regularly at all hours (7.30 am one Monday morning, 9.30 one Saturday night). And it is dull, dull, dull.

    Good money though. I went to Malta for a week, and had £500 left over.

  5. sleepyhead

    sleepyhead New commenter

    This is true - and I hate it! Even after doing it November and June for two years, it still stresses me out more than going to the meetings ever did. Luckily, I've had the same TL for a good number of years, and she knows my standard, so we don't worry too much when I have my funny five minutes with pretend scripts!
    I speak to my TL maybe 3 times in the period - once before I start, once at the start to let me know I'm cleared, and once just before the end to see how I have found it. I also know that I can call her for advice when I need to - unlike the last poster, she calls at sensible hours!
    I lose 8 weeks of my life each year to this, and each time swear I'll never mark again.... I've agreed to mark new spec this summer, but we'll see how online marking goes. I've hated the bones of it so far, and if it's as bad as I think - this will be the last year, despite the money being rather welcome.
  6. oh gosh now I am worrying what I've done! Thanks for your honesty though...
  7. sleepyhead

    sleepyhead New commenter

    It's certainly not easy money, and you might as well kiss goodbye to a social life - but my classes do benefit from what I know. And so does my bank balance!
  8. leadlearner

    leadlearner New commenter

    It will improve your knowkedge of what examiners are looking for and really help your teaching. Pupils also give you a certain respect and reading lots of papers really informs your own teaching.
    You will need to be very organised and get on top of all your class marking and prep well in advance so that you aren't spending hours on this at home - in addition to your exam marking. You also need to warn family and friends that you will have zero social life in the marking period and draw up a realistic time table to help you plan your marking. It can take over.
    Although we all moan about it - the money is useful and the skills invaluable and after marking 500 papers as I did last year, a set of 30 class papers seems like nothing. It really speeds up your own marking.
    [​IMG] Also if it gets too much you can always send them back.
  9. leadlearner

    leadlearner New commenter

    Whoops I can spell, but a typo slipped in![​IMG]
  10. regentsreject

    regentsreject Occasional commenter

    emilie - examining is the best CPD you will ever do. i've been doing it for years and I always liken it to childbirth - you forget how painful it is until you come to do it again (not an analogy which is terribly helpful to male markers!) All good advice in previous posts but try not to be put off by the online marking - I think everyone who has marked should give it a go - it's not as bad as people fear and you will save on red pens and postage! There is loads of support from senior markers and a delirious sense of achievement when you finish.
    Good luck
  11. It's ok - yes, you are committed for a month or so but if you discipline yourself to mark 20ish scripts a day and stick to it (I'm talking English or Lit here - very demanding), the benefits far outweigh the negative aspects:
    * to inform your own teaching
    * to pass tips on to your own students
    * professional development - sharing best practice with colleagues
    * financial gains for summer holiday etc.
    You need to meet deadlines and follow procedures but these are straightforward to follow and your team leader (in my experience) is supportive and non-intrusive. It's simple - if you miss a deadline, and fail to get in touch, you get a call from AQA. However, if you are able to meet the deadlines, there will be no problem. Failing that - phone the designated contact at AQA, if you have any difficulties (plus keep your team leader informed) and they will be supportive.
    I have been an examiner for 2 years and the first is a real challenge (as you would expect with anything new) but you get through it with support (which is very good - believe me), and the second year is much easier.
    Online standardisation is ok - just allow yourself the time to dedicate yourself to it (an evening parked in front of the computer would be a fair assessment - but you are paid for assessing these scripts too).
    Hope this helps
  12. gruoch

    gruoch Established commenter

    I have a load of A2 scripts awaiting my attention - and 2 weeks to mark them.

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