Pay exam markers better to improve standards, says independent schools’ chief

The Independent is reporting that concern about the marking standards of GCSE and A-level papers will be voiced by leaders of Britain’s top independent schools this week.

Christopher King, the chairman of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC) and headteacher of Leicester Grammar School, will argue that markers should be paid more so that exam boards can demand a higher standard from them. His argument is that higher pay will attract more markers of a higher quality.

In an exclusive interview with The Independent on Sunday in advance of the conference, which opens on 6 October, he said: “We are very concerned about the quality of marking of public exams. We find it unacceptable that there are so many re-marks and regrading of exams – both at GCSE and at A-level. The review process and the appeals process is also simply not transparent. We need a review of the process of marking and the quality of markers.

“This is for the benefit of all pupils – not just those in the independent sector. It’s expensive to appeal against grades and many schools don’t have the resources that independent schools have to do this.”

…Mr King also voiced concern over the trend by exam boards to get examiners to mark individual questions rather than a student’s whole paper. “The exam boards will say it helps to develop an in-depth knowledge of the particular question assigned to them,” he said, “but then there is not the same accountability for marking a paper overall…”

More at: Pay exam markers better to improve standards, says independent schools’ chief


Do you welcome this intervention over marking standards from Christopher King and the HMC?

Is better pay for examiners likely to result in the kind of improvements he wants to see? 

Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…


Would better pay for exam markers be sufficient to improve standards?


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Categories: Policy, Private Schools and Secondary.


  1. PCampbell91

    SchoolsImprove improve training quality assurance or time allocated for marking. If markers choose to be markers, they should do a good job

  2. brighton118

    SchoolsImprove- I can remember yrs ago being shocked that some exam boards were offering marking to PGCE students. #notright

  3. brighton118

    SchoolsImprove – Needs to be high quality marking, high quality tested exams & assessment criteria that are meaningful

  4. Stevius

    What is required is more markers with a reduced load, giving them the time to mark to the correct standard.

    Our GCSE English Literature results are currently under a centre review because of the quality of marking. Out of 20 students challenged all 20 were regarded with 8 improving by at least 2 grades. 1 student went from C to A*!

  5. acet2001

    SchoolsImprove We’re still waiting on 20 remarks from CIE English. Scripts were with them on 10th Sept. Inexcusable. educationgovuk

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