Around half of examiners are unhappy with their pay and almost six in ten find their work stressful, according to a survey by regulator Ofqual.
It follows several tumultuous years in which the Covid pandemic caused widespread disruption to exams. Examiners were furloughed and offered pay-offs not to work, and even faced delays to payments last year.
The survey of almost 15,000 examiners was conducted last year. Although around nine in ten respondents found their role meaningful and were proud of what they do, “not all aspects of examining were viewed as positively”.
Fifty-seven per cent of respondents reported their examining roles were stressful, this is slightly worse than when Ofqual last asked examiners. In 2018, 55 per cent reported they found their role stressful.
Forty-eight per cent reported “unsatisfactory” pay associated with examining, down slightly from 49 per cent four years ago, while a quarter said they were happy with their pay.
Ofqual says findings ‘reassuring’
Ofqual said responses to its 2022 survey were “reassuring in the context of the examining hiatus that affected most examiners in 2020 and 2021”.
They said respondents’ level of professional experience and perceptions of the examining process “are generally in line with responses to the survey in 2018”.
“The examiner workforce remains characterised by high levels of both teaching and examining experience, and respondents are generally keen to continue examining.
“Overall, examiners expressed high levels of confidence going into the summer 2022 series, despite adaptations to many assessments and the fact many respondents had not examined for two years.”
One big change since the 2018 survey is an increase in the use of technology for both marking and training.
Last year, 90 per cent of marker respondents said they conducted exam marking mainly online, up from 79 per cent in 2018. Three quarters said they were trained to mark mainly online, up from 62 per cent.
Moderators were less likely to be trained online, but still saw a marked increase. Last year, 47 per cent of moderator respondents reported being trained mostly online, up from 26 per cent in 2018.