Anna: I really do believe that examining is a brilliant opportunity for a teacher. I think it has financial, personal and professional benefits and I would certainly encourage any of my colleagues to get involved with AQA.
Helen: So who are we looking for and why apply to mark our qualifications? We are looking for qualified teachers, with at least three terms teaching experience of the subject and level they would like to mark, within the last three years.
So what is in it for you? I would like to introduce you to one of our exam markers Anna Hunt who is also a practising teacher to tell you more about what she gets out of marking exams.
Anna: Well, there are obvious financial benefits and every year I pay for my husband and children to go on a good family holiday without having scrimped and saved throughout the year, so that is a big benefit. But I do think that there are personal and professional benefits as well that certainly make it a more attractive prospect.
I think also the opportunity to look at a range of papers is really helpful because you don't actually know what your students do in an exam – you think you do because you do mock exams but you don't know how they behave once they are under that additional pressure, and seeing a breadth of exam papers you recognise frequent errors and you can guide your own students against making those errors.
I think as well that that this is definite CPD opportunities available to you if you have been examining. Certainly you can offer training sessions to people within your own department about it because, theoretically, you are the expert in that particular paper. Doing that can then lead to other opportunities within the school I think because you show an ability and confidence that perhaps senior management might not otherwise have a chance to see.
I think if you can have people in your department marking papers, across the range of the papers that you do, it does give you an increased understanding of the way in which the entire subject works. And so that is useful as well, it also means that when you do mock exams you have got an expert, if you like, across each sort of area and those people can standardise other people in your department. Now if you are doing that you are getting much more accurate results from your mock exam, so your data (that you are passing on to senior management) is again much more accurate and your predictions are much more accurate which is great as a head of faculty because you can show that you do know what you are doing. Great for students because they then have realistic expectations about where they are going and also it's good because you can intervene; you can recognise those groups of students who need extra help and perhaps that teacher (that knows that paper well) can work separately with those students to try and solve those problems before they even get into the exam.
I think as a person it's useful too. I feel, professionally, much more confident since I've been working for AQA and working closely with the exam board. So, I think that confidence comes across in your teaching and I think that inevitably has an effect on your wider life as well because you feel better at your job if you like, and that can only be a very good thing. And it certainly has helped my own career development. I've been able to develop with AQA but I have also developed through the school and that has happened in line with the work I have done for AQA so I do think that the two have had that kind of organic effect on each other.
I really do believe that examining is a brilliant opportunity for a teacher. I think it has financial, personal and professional benefits and I would certainly encourage any of my colleagues to get involved with AQA.