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Rates of pay for Exam markers???

Discussion in 'Education news' started by slingshotsally, Mar 12, 2016.

  1. slingshotsally

    slingshotsally Star commenter

    Hi All,

    I have just clicked "Become a marker" advert and I can find lots of information regarding how to apply but nothing whatsoever in rates?

    Does anyone know? Do they pay different rates for different subjects? Are they not complying with minimum wage?

  2. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    Hi, I am an expert examiner (science) for one of the major boards. I've been doing it for many years and find the pay and workload to be fine - but then my teaching workload is also reasonable and it allows me the time to mark.

    The hourly rate works out very well in my opinion, there's a bonus for completing on time (which I have never had any concerns over as there is more than ample time) and there is the option at the end of marking to do extra for a higher rate of pay. I sometimes do more, depends on my mood. It pays for my summer off.

    Go for it. You won't get great pay straight off, but it's still fine and in a few years you can be earning pretty decently.
    wanet likes this.
  3. slingshotsally

    slingshotsally Star commenter

    Thanks, Scintillant.

    We are in dire straits at the moment and car about the clap-right-out at any moment, so need to look at all opportunities!

  4. wanet

    wanet Star commenter

    It might be late to apply for this year, generally contracted by now. rate of pay depends upon how fast you can mark.
  5. pixiewixiepixie

    pixiewixiepixie Occasional commenter

    "but nothing whatsoever in rates?"

    There's a reason for that!!

    Most teachers refuse to mark because

    a) the hourly pay is awful (sub minimum wage) once you include all the extra time you have to invest to do the things you aren't paid for.

    b) It's immoral. You have to mark so quickly to try and earn a decent wage that you cannot mark properly. The result is a bonanza of lucrative re-mark fees for the exam boards, but only from schools who can afford it - poor students miss out.

    c) It's immoral. The pay is so poor, the jobs are usually advertised as 'excellent professional development'. You will work like a donkey whilst the exam boards rake in hundreds of millions in fees and pay themselves eye-watering sums - and most have charitable status!

    d) It's immoral. The exam board have not made any effort to change (because of the vast sums they make). The are very happy to keep as many people as possible working in essentially a piece-rate cottage industry instead of working out how to create full-time jobs from all the different tasks that have to be done, apart from marking and moderating.

    Many teachers have boycotted this part of the education business. Avoid them and change will be forced on them and everyone will benefit (accept the Executive Board members of the 'charities', who may not get their million pound bonuses).
    teachinglydia likes this.
  6. applecrumblebumble

    applecrumblebumble Lead commenter

    And how accurately you can mark.
    There may be some work in the core subjects and typically £800 - 900 after tax about £650 - 750 in your pocket.
  7. wanet

    wanet Star commenter

    If you mark online then you are told the rate. But you won't know how fast you can mark. If you are good at marking then the rate is not that bad. If you are slow then it won't be. For online marking there is little else to do. Some boards pay for moderation, others include it in the script fee.

    The extras are more important for moderation. In my experience the extra work gets created when schools don't do what is expected and you have to chase them. Exam boards could solve this by fining schools and paying this to moderators.
  8. BillyBobJoe

    BillyBobJoe Lead commenter

    Works out about £25-30/hour for me, but that's marking maths. I suspect if you mark English or history it doesn't look so rosy.
  9. Compassman

    Compassman Star commenter

    Despite having left teaching I am still doing marking.

    In fact I start some next week. I have more free time in the evenings and weekends now to do it!

    I would agree though that marking English or History would be pretty hard work. However, Science or Maths is fairly easy and you can rattle off quite a few sets of questions in an evening.
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2016
  10. Skeoch

    Skeoch Star commenter

    This discussion has been had previously... But my experience limited to one examining board but different levels is this: marking accurately is important. If you don't, you get stopped from marking and don't get paid; if you mark badly at the standardisation stage you get intercepted quickly and either put back on track or taken off the marking. Seems fair I think. Most markers are pretty accurate, and accuracy doesn't seem in my experience to correlate with speed - some of the best markers I've come across have been fast. With online marking there's next to no unpaid admin, as the computer does that for you. Rate of pay if you are a reasonably fast marker is acceptable - of course we'd all like more - and I would think £25 per hour is readily achievable. The hassle comes with odd scripts that won't go through the computer system and I think those are underpaid per hour. As for re-marks - the ones I've seen are either correct or very very close to being correct; I can see that Centres will see a candidate who is very close to a grade boundary and apply for a re-mark as being a worthwhile gamble, as being marked down by a mark or two won't influence a grade.
    I can see the argument for full-time markers but I can't see the practicality. By their nature these exams are seasonal - beyond the six weeks or so of the exam season, what would these full-time markers be doing?
    wanet likes this.
  11. adam_nichol

    adam_nichol Occasional commenter

    I've been marking a long time at various levels of seniority (English and Politics).

    At the start, marking is slow as you need to standardise and get frequent checks. Different boards do this differently - random sampling, seeds, etc. By about 1/3 of the way through, it becomes much easier; and by around the half way mark, you've pretty much seen 95% of response quality; and it becomes much faster.
    Typically, you get paid a fixed sum for delivering a fixed quantity by a set time (often incentivised by a bonus). When the deadline passes, the pool of remainders is often opened and paid per item at a higher rate.

    Pixie levelled some strident criticism, and there is some truth to it. However, accuracy matter in terms of standardising, continued progress through a contract, and your likelihood of being recontracted for subsequent marking series. But, across all levels of marking, there is an issue of centripetal scoring (ie: no one ever gives 0% or 100%), leading to a lack of differentiation between scripts. This is being investigated.
    Of the exam boards, only AQA is a charity, and doesn't run to a profit. The others are openly private companies. I'm not sure where Pixie is getting their thoughts on remarking fees. Remarking is a lot of work, and not a cash cow. Also, whether rich or poor, the student faces the possibility of marks dropping if remarked; so it's an informed gamble they must make - but the risk is outcome more than fee outlay.
    And as for CEO pay - well, these are massive national companies who have to construct, deliver, and assess specifications for thousands of qualifications; with stakes at an extremely high level. So of course pay would be on par with market peers.
  12. davidgreams

    davidgreams New commenter

    I did it for the Leaving Certs and I remember I got about €300, including a €30 tip :)

    It's dead boring though, so make sure you have good (silent!) entertainment lined up! I think over the course of the exams three people went to the loo. I didn't even have to get up because I was in a room with a loo:( Making tea was the highlight, ask your examiner on the first day what their preference for biccies/scones is, and you'll be in the good books straight away :)
  13. binaryhex

    binaryhex Lead commenter

    Pixie has more or less nailed it. Exam marking’s hourly rate after tax is poor for most subjects, if you include all the admin things you have to do which aren’t paid. The only ones who benefit are the employees of exam boards - it is their job to get monkeys to mark for peanuts and keep the bottom line to poverty levels. It’s also boring and in some subjects, questions are split up and distributed so a) you mark only one question a thousand times and b) the exam boards can use relatively unqualified monkeys like students, secretaries, foreign workers in India etc, who will work for even less peanuts.
  14. ajrowing

    ajrowing Lead commenter

    Marking GCSEs last year I earned between 20 and 45pounds per hour depending on the question and how well I had learnt it. I didn't record how long I spent in total on the marking and associated tasks, but a colleague of mine did a few years ago and it worked out somewhere between 25 and 30pounds an hour for them. For me marking the same question 1000s of times is great as you get good at it, and the more you do the quicker and more accurate you are.
    sabrinakat and border_walker like this.
  15. adam_nichol

    adam_nichol Occasional commenter

    May have been true once upon a time (no idea), but not these days.
    Exams are marked by expert examiners, who hold appropriate qualifications in the subject. The only questions you could field to non-experts would be multi-choice or simple right/wrong questions - all of which are easy to mark by an automated process anyway.
    95% of scripts are marked electronically, so there is virtually no admin unless you specifically have a whitemail contract. You are also paid to undertake standardisation, even if you never mark a script thereafter. Some boards break up scripts so examiners only see one particular question (much easier for standardisation / consistency checking), others give a whole script to one examiner (better in some circumstances, but harder to consistency check). Depends both on subject and board, nor is there a 'correct' way. Likewise, some distribute centres randomly, others keep them clustered.
    As for exam boards raking in the cash - how do you think that works at the sort of scale they work to? For illustration, if min wage is £8/hr and you can do 3 scripts in an hour (no feedback, numbers only). A-level psych has 70'000 entrants. That's just shy of £190k to get that one subject at one level marked (without accounting for drop-outs, standardisation, seeding or other consistency checks). Just all the other subjects at all the levels to go then.
  16. markuss

    markuss Occasional commenter

    just adding a couple of notes.

    There's more than about six weeks' work in the year - for some subjects, anyway. I don't take as many contracts as I used to but still have some assessment work every month (but nowadays just a few scripts to mark some months). This is for English but other subjects also have key stage tests for home and abroad, international GCSE, international "N" and "O" as well as "A" level. As well as the awarding bodies with their short term and longer term contracts, there is also the NFER, which takes on people as temporary employees on assessment business.

    Examination Boards were a twentieth century feature. There were lots of them - e.g. there was an East Midlands Board and a West Midlands Board. They had a good deal of autonomy and they could offer things such as CSE modes 1, 2, and 3. "Syllabuses", they had. Remember them? With the coming of GCSE and the National Curriculum, the days were numbered for exam boards.

    They were officially abolished early in 2001. Nowadays, we just have a few awarding bodies offering their "specifications" for public exams.
  17. richest1

    richest1 Occasional commenter

    Do some boards still post scripts to your home to mark? A teacher in the next road to me says this is the case.
  18. sabrinakat

    sabrinakat Star commenter

    Not for OCR (GCSE Latin & A-Level Class Civ) or Edexel GCSE History :) - it's all on computer.

    I make decent money and it works out well for me as I am in an independent school so am more 'free' than most (off in July).
  19. BillyBobJoe

    BillyBobJoe Lead commenter

    Assignments for SQA are paper copies - too much variation in format to scan reliably I would guess. I think most if not all exams are now electronic.
  20. adam_nichol

    adam_nichol Occasional commenter

    I often elect to take contracts that have this. It's a combination of some online marking and some 'whitemail' - often typed or on A3, etc, for accessibility issues. There is less oversight of this type of contract, so tends to go to established markers for first refusal.
    The vast majority of marking is now done online, however quals that are popular overseas may not have this as a possibility.

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