Markers play vital role in secondary examinations

07 Aug 2017

From November to early December each year, around 150,000 students nationwide sit NCEA and NZ Scholarship examinations. By Christmas, their examinations and portfolios have been marked and early in the new year candidates can log into NZQA’s website for their results.

Marking of each externally assessed standard is the responsibility of a marking panel. Within days of candidates sitting an examination, their work is sorted and distributed. The panel sets to work immediately, led by a panel leader who carries out benchmarking, trains markers, and ensures effective quality control throughout the marking process.

To make this happen, each year NZQA contracts almost 2,000 subject experts. In 2016, contractors marked over 1.2 million candidate entries. It is the willingness of these committed professionals to go the extra mile at the end of a busy academic year that enables NCEA and NZ Scholarship candidates to receive their examination grades so quickly.

Markers contracted by NZQA do their work outside school hours. It makes an already busy working life even busier, but the benefits of being a marker are manifold.

Marking improves a teacher’s understanding of externally assessed standards and assessment processes. As many have found, seeing performance on a national scale both informs and enhances their teaching practice; markers see the common mistakes candidates make, but also what excellence can look like. What’s more, expertise gained through marking can be shared with colleagues. The benefits ripple out beyond the individual and his or her classroom. Markers can find they are making a difference in ways they never expected.

Markers also enjoy the opportunity to meet others in their field at their panel meetings. Some former markers have found that the experience has helped them to advance their teaching careers and even establish a different career in the education sector.

There are markers who return year upon year. But each year NZQA needs to secure the services of enough high calibre markers to maintain the robustness of our world class examination system. Continuation of NCEA and NZ Scholarship external assessment is dependent upon a steady supply of qualified subject specialists who are willing to put themselves forward for selection.

NZQA currently has vacancies for markers of Level 1 Science on panels in the Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin areas, and Levels 2 and 3 Earth and Space Science in Auckland. Other panels still welcoming applications from prospective markers include Accounting, French, Spanish, Music, Digital Technology, Level 1 Geography, Level 2 History and Levels 2 and 3 Biology.

Teachers who are interested in applying for a 2017 marking role should click here for further information on marking and to access the online application process.

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