Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Exam marking again

This time last year I was learning how to mark year 12 papers and I was seriously learning about time management.

This year I am back marking year 12 papers. Different paper so we have to learn how to mark it again. Work out how the information actually fits into the set questions. It proves interesting.

Teaching is a very personal industry. You train with a group of people - about 40 or so that you have direct contact with. You work in a few schools and you get to know a few more people. I have worked with over 300 people in 15 years at 4 different schools. Really that is not many.

Within your own subject area the numbers become smaller. At my first school I worked in a department of 7 teachers. Two classroom and the rest instrumental. My next school was 2 classroom and 5 instrumental. Third school I was the classroom teacher (as well as drama teacher) and there were 3 instrumental teachers. This school has 4 classroom teachers (huge) and 16 instrumental teachers. In essence I have only worked with about 50 music teachers.

The point of all of this is that I work in a small subject area. Everyone knows everyone - or at least knows of everyone. If they don't really know you then they pretend. Today in training there was a lot of pretending. There was also a lot of bizarre antics that went on.

There was a lot of one-up-manship going on. We listened to the various pieces that are on the syllabus and then we talked about what we heard etc. Some of the people had to outdo each other. I have to admit, I joined in on that. I am not immune to this posturing. If I hear it enough I will take part in it too. There is an element of "pick me, pick me!"

So I have learnt today that you have to play the game. Make sure your voice is heard by the right people - but I still have to find out who they are.

I have also learnt that you have to watch your back. There are things that were said today that I had to react against - quietly, I promise. I found myself having to defend against unwarranted accusations of an unknown group......I was, unknowingly to this cohort, part of the unknown group. I spoke to the chief assessor when we had a break and it was never mentioned again!

I have realised that the assessors put themselves on a pedestal. The exam setters are also on their own pedestal. The unknown group are the vetters. This group read the paper and make sure it reads well, fits the criteria etc. I think I did that but it was the beginning of the year so my recollections are hazy and there was a bit of stuff going on in the background so I was not completely focused on the task. I could have written something that has come back to bite the whole exam on the bum! It happens. But it might have been someone else.

Enough said of the unknown.

Tomorrow we go through the paper in full, slotting in today's information and start marking as a group. We compare our marks. We discuss differences. Then we do it again. By the end of the day we should be a cohesive group.

I then take home my 100 papers (or 50 depending on the numbers and who I am partnered with) and I mark them on my own. I call into the central office with the 'control' papers and compare my marks.

I worked out last year that it takes about 2-3 days to mark 100 papers.

It really is an interesting process but it is quite tiring. Thank goodness I get paid per paper.

1 comment:

Joh said...

Soldier on... the end is near;-)