Examiner awards scheme launched to lure teachers amid growing demand

Examiner awards scheme launched to lure teachers amid growing demand

An awards scheme that will recognise “exceptional commitment” from exam markers is being set up by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) to entice more teachers to take on the job.

The move comes off the back of a report by the headteachers’ associations, JCQ and other exam boards, which warned thousands more examiners are needed to meet extra demand from GCSE and A-level reforms.

The report, due to be published on Monday, found that each summer 34,000 examiners set and mark 8 million qualifications for 2 million 15 to 19 years olds in the UK.

It said that while the move from modular to linear general qualifications may reduce overall demand for examiners as resits and multiple entries decrease, there is increased demand for examiners during the summer period.

Authors added that national challenges with teacher recruitment may have a knock-on effect on examiner recruitment, as well as heavy workloads which puts teachers off becoming examiners.

As a result, 7,000 more examiners are needed by 2019 to cater for the growing demand, the report warned.

JCQ’s proposed awards scheme is intended to act as an extra incentive for teachers to take on examiner roles.

Individual awards will be given as “formal recognition” to examiners who have made a “sustained contribution to examining”.

They’ll be given to people with three or more, five or more, or ten or more consecutive academic years’ active examining service with the same exam board as at summer 2017 and then each year after that.

JCQ will also pilot an awards scheme for school and college centres next year.

Awards will be given to centres that demonstrate evidence of encouraging staff to become examiners, using the experience of examiners to support continuing professional development across the centre, and supporting staff to remain as examiners.

Winning individuals and centres will receive certificates as their award.

Schools Week reported last month that veteran examiner Roger Murphy had called for an awards scheme for examiners to be created to entice more teachers to take on the job.

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.