GCSE exam marking: education’s national service?

When calls are made to bring back national service, they are usually backed up with the insistence that doing so would make young people more focused, more self-sufficient and more confident. Possibly, this will be followed up with a couple of digs about how millennials don’t know what hard work is, and maybe some kind of avocado-related jibe. Tes reports.

But last summer, when I was marking GCSE exams, my friend and fellow marker came out with something new: “All teachers should be made to mark exam scripts at least once, as a kind of educational national service”.

The more I think about this idea, the more sense it makes – and the more convinced I become that all teachers should mark at least once.

As important as it is to not let the exam rule your lessons, you still have to know that exam inside out to ensure your students are ready to take it. Your knowledge of the exam cannot help but improve when marking hundreds of responses. And better knowledge of the exam will naturally inform and benefit your teaching.

When you are marking exams, you will be amazed at how many ideas for lessons and activities and projects will come to you as you make your way through all those countless responses.

You will see a response that would have been great, except that they just forgot to…

By the end of the process, you will feel as if you could sniff a script and be able to tell just from that which assessment objectives it hits. This means that you’ll be quicker and more accurate when marking mocks and exam answers with your own classes.

And the marking pay might mean that you will even be able to afford an extra avocado.

Read the full article GCSE exam marking: education’s national service?

What do you think? A good idea to help with your own teaching or just another burden? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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  1. wasateacher

    I might agree with this as far as GCSE marking goes (although teaching to the test makes me very uncomfortable), but the danger would be if this rational was used further down the years. The testing regime is moving away from the broad based education which I believe is needed both for the individual and for the health of the country. Certainly my experience, many years ago, of moderating coursework helped me to understand where some schools were failing and, I hope, my notes might have helped improve their practice – it did help mine.

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