Glenys Stacey defends marking standards (and suggests paying markers more won’t help)

Early this week the chairman of the HMC criticised the standard of marking for A-levels and GCSEs – now Ofqual head Glenys Stacey has addressed the HMC conference and defended the system. This is an extract from her speech.

…Your chairman identified some factors concerning him earlier this week. In particular he was concerned about the quality of marking and suggested paying markers more. But we know from extensive research that most markers don’t do it for the money, much like I’m sure most of you did not choose a career in education for the money.

Instead, most teachers become markers to get close to exam board specifications and mark schemes. It is not clear to me that paying markers more will of its own deliver improvement, although of course we don’t argue against this.

What we do say, and argue for, is for exam boards to consider afresh how to secure a sufficient number of good quality markers, and to look particularly at whether employment arrangements can evolve to provide more certainty, and so that markers commit themselves to exam boards ahead of the marking season.

Your chairman was also concerned about item-based marking. But we know it has its part to play in good-quality marking. We have published strong evidence that it is at least as effective, if not more effective, than whole papers being marked by one individual. I realise this may not chime with a more intuitive view, but it is well-researched and evidenced…

Beyond those issues I have previously mentioned, your chairman also listed three things earlier this week that you would like to see addressed within the exams system…

More at: Par for the course – Glenys Stacey’s speech to the HMC conference


Glenys Stacey goes on to address issues of consistency across subjects and exam boards, the desire for a larger marking workforce and the need for greater confidence around appeals.

What do you think of the arguments she makes here? Do they sufficiently address the concerns raised?

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  1. brighton118

    SchoolsImprove-High quality exams & effective marking schemes are needed. Too many errors /remarks suggest quality control issues Glenys !

  2. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove This is a non-argument as she failed to ask those who don’t mark and that could be due to poor £. Lack of numbers ignored

  3. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove What needs research is how, despite overseeing some of the biggest scandals in Ofqual history, Ms Stacey is still in post

  4. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Says a woman who earns around £120k per year plus, presumably, a generous pension, who has overseen annual exam scandal

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