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Exam boards ask students and NQTs to mark GCSE and A-level exam papers

The call comes after a recent report revealed that 7,000 more markers would be 'needed to cope with exam reforms'

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The call comes after a recent report revealed that 7,000 more markers would be 'needed to cope with exam reforms'

Exam board AQA is calling on both PhD and PGCE student teachers to help mark this year's GCSE and A-level exams in English, geography, sociology and religious studies.

The OCR board is also seeking current or recent PGCE studentswho have completed the classroom teaching element of their course, to be GCSE and A-level examiners this year. The board said it "may" consider non-teaching candidates who can demonstrate a high-level of subject expertise and/or relevant knowledge of assessment.

Meanwhile, Pearson, which runs the Edexcel board, is now recruiting newly qualified teachers (NQTs) to become examiners in the new GCSE in English – which will be taken for the first time this summer. 

The recruitment push follows a report from the exam boards earlier this year which said that teachers’ professional expertise as examiners had become “more important than ever” in the wake of qualification overhauls. The report revealed that approximately 41,000 teachers would need to serve as examiners by 2019 – which means an additional 7,000 teachers.

Last year, a major study from exams watchdog Ofqual found that only half of examiners for English literature agreed on the "expected" grade for an exam.

Following the news that AQA is looking for PGCE and PhD students to mark the new GCSE exams in English literature, teachers have taken to social media to voice their concerns: 

@lauthorne @ashmore_edu I think this is the first sign there is a problem. SATs had the same thing - they ended up being outsourced and the marking was horrendous

— Aimee Hanson (@AimeeCasson) April 12, 2017

@AimeeCasson Scary! If I were a pupil, I'd want someone who had a couple of years teaching and marking experience under their belt.

— Laura (@lauthorne) April 12, 2017


@AimeeCasson @debrakidd AQA should not allow inexperienced teachers to mark & no way shoukd PGCE's be allowed near papers. Not right

— Gill Ditch (@brighton118) April 12, 2017

An advert from AQA said that it has "new and exciting opportunities for PhD and PGCE students/recent graduates" to join its examiner team.

A Pearson advert said: "Due to an unprecedented increase in market share, we are now accepting applications for examiners from newly qualified teachers (NQTs) of GCSE English."

An AQA spokesman said: “We did a pilot last year to see how people doing PhDs and PGCEs performed as examiners, and we found they were excellent - so we’ve been recruiting them for some subjects this year.

"We see this as a great way to expand our examiner pool and make sure all our marking is high-quality. Our work to recruit examiners for this summer is going really well - but we’re always keen to hear from prospective examiners, and all the details are on our website.”

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