Not just from an exam officer's perspective

At a recent Ofqual meeting on what various stakeholders wanted from the exam system the following extract has been adapted from a presentation by Tanya Jones outlining a teacher’s perspective, which should help eveyone understand on how important it is to work closely with teaching staff, who have such impact on how effectively the exams officer community can carry out their role.


Teachers like exam officers, on behalf of their students, seek clear specification guidance, assessment objectives and marking schemes that mirror marking in exams. That specifications and examination processes appear transparent and fair to all.


Teachers also expect examining bodies to have clear quality assurance systems that are rigorous, effective and timely in their delivery.  They too must feel confidence that checking of examiner’s marking has been carried out effectively and in the interests of students with clear evidence in outcomes that access the appropriate range of marks available across a cohort. 


Confidence in exam board rank ordering in relation to ‘in house’ teacher knowledge is so important, therefore examiner and moderator reports need to be bespoke and allow for future course team reflection and development. The exam system should be part of the whole teaching and leraning process and not a bolt on activity.


Exams taken in any centre must enable students to demonstrate their ability and reflect what can be expected from a student at a particular level and this must be supported by consistency of comments in examiner/moderator/principal's reports and comments which relate back clearly to the published guidance.


The delivery of exams is a shared responsibility so access to exam board guidance through easy to navigate and supportive online resources and helpful guidance are vital from subject officers. When any exams officer is making enquiries around marking, it’s so important as we enter a new era in exams delivery that support and guidance is offered appropriately at all levels.


Requested scripts after marking do need to have comments which clearly indicate that a range of marks have been used between different questions and why marks have been given.


To avoid more work and less stress for the exam officer it’s so important that results and post results processes provide centres with more information on the breakdown of marks so teachers can respond to the needs of their students more effectively.


As an experienced exam officer or not, many people will already have a good idea of what is being planned for this summer on the entry front, but a word of warning.


Historically, every time there has been a major change in the exam process, there has been an upsurge of errors on entries, often associated with a lack of familiarity with new programmes so this year it’s even more important to double and triple check all the information being provided from teachers before entries are made, so every student is dealt with appropriately.