#neveragain #exammarking have been appearing on my timeline on twitter on a regular basis for the last few weeks as maths teachers up and down the country plough through 1000s (and 1000s!!) of exam questions. So why do we do it?

When I first started teaching I did exam marking for 2 reasons – money (of course) and also (it sounds clichéd) to get a better understanding of how the mark schemes were actually applied in practice. I remember being so enthusiastic in my first couple of exam sessions, and actually quite enjoyed the process … I loved looking at different methods that students used, and I honestly think that it unearthed some common misconceptions which I have been able to incorporate into my teaching. Now though, it seems to be so much more complicated … as an “expert marker” more and more of the questions are of the QWC type (the star questions) which means we are looking for specific written words/phrases and the time that this is taking seems so much longer, yet the pressure on ensuring that you are accurate seems to be higher – or maybe I am now aware of what is at stake for some of these students/schools?

Were you to ask me a few days ago if it was worth exam marking, when I still had 30% left (to mark), I would have said that it wasn’t worth the time and effort but now that I’ve finished my quota (I don’t mean to be smug for those of you still plugging away)  I can honestly say that despite the money, it is definitely worth doing – if only for what I have learnt – of course the money comes in handy too!  This time was the first that I have had to mark questions on certain topics (questionnaires, angle facts with triangles and proportion to name a few) that I am definitely going to be able to incorporate some of the common errors into my teaching (I’d also like to  use the “wrong” methods in some spot the mistakes style worksheets) and I’ve found that to be the case after every exam.

So will I accept next years contracts? I’d love to be all blasé, shrug my shoulders and say “Nah” but I know I will get a little bit excited when the email arrives with details of the contract….  #neveragain #tillnextyear