Exam marking-the benefits for your school video transcript

Helen: Hello, I am Helen Webb Recruitment Manager for AQAs examiners and moderators. It's a great job and I am lucky enough to be part of the team who recruit people into one of the most important roles in education – the people who mark our students' GCSE and A-level papers!

But why should your teaching staff mark examinations, and what is in it for your school and your students?

I would like to introduce you to one of our exam markers Stephanie Wood who is also a practising teacher to tell you more about what she gets out of marking exams.

Stephanie: I was very fortunate initially when I started teaching; my head of department recommended, after the first year almost, that I apply to do exam marking because she absolutely knew the benefits that it could bring, not just to myself, but to the whole department that I could then feed back to them.

I started off doing GCSE and I have then since moved on to A-Level and have now marked for both AS and A2 and that has proved enormously beneficial not just to myself but also to the rest of the department that I have been able to give advice to, talk specifically about the specification and the mark scheme. And my head of department still continues to encourage everyone within the department to do as much exam marking as possible so we cover between us a range of GCSE and A-level specifications, that we are then able to share our expertise and effectively have "in house" training. I think as a School that is the most important thing for us. It shows in our results the papers that we are most familiar with we do get better results in.

As an examiner, you then also have access to a whole range of papers. You can see the pitfalls of certain questions so you can advise your own students and then you can advise everyone else as to what you have learnt. I think also sometimes, when you have been teaching texts for a long time, you do become a little bit stale perhaps in the way you are delivering them, and in reading this range of papers you are given fresh new ideas and that again you can share with other colleagues that enables you to come to the paper, and come to teaching with a fresh perspective.

Fitting it in is not a problem. You do have to be very disciplined, maybe preparing beforehand so you clear all your school work, but the exam period is only 3 maybe 4 weeks at a time when year 11s and year 13 are gone so you have a little more freedom in order to get the work done. And of course when it comes to doing things like mock exam marking, you know exactly how that mark scheme works. You can advise other people in your department and in schools where very often we are being asked to give very very specific targets, and a very specific idea about what grades students will eventually get you can do that with a unique insight and a unique knowledge that perhaps, I certainly, wouldn't have had otherwise.

Examining and team leading has given that confidence and given me that expertise that has benefitted both myself and the whole school, that I have then been able to do inter-departmental training and really helped a lot of new teachers who were perhaps not as confident teaching a new specification.

So I would really strongly recommend that head teachers and heads of department encourage and even motivate their staff to take up examining, not just for the benefit of individual teachers but for the benefit of whole cohorts of students and the school as a whole.

Helen: Around 20000 people, just like Stephanie, return year after year because of the valuable impact this role has on their teaching. Every year we need more teachers to mark and join our team and we need your help in supporting and encouraging your teaching staff to apply.