Exam Moderating; Is It For You?

 With the cost of living still on the rise, it seems that many professionals are seeking extra income through working a second job. Are you or have you been a teacher? Are you looking to earn that little bit of extra money to spend? Are the bills rising but your wages aren’t? Well teachers, have you ever considered becoming an exam moderator? You may not realise just how many advantages there are, so let me examine them for you.

It must be noted that not everyone enjoys marking! It involves a significant amount of time and effort, and any benefits need to be weighed against the negatives. For example, some teachers enjoy the challenge and opportunity of marking exam papers, not to mention the added bonus of the extra income, whereas others find the thought of marking a miserable and draining idea.

Let’s start with naming some of the positives:

  • You can mark papers in your own time – whenever!
  • You can do this from the comfort of your own home, even in your comfy arm chair and slippers!
  • The exam boards pay you (the pay does vary with each exam board so it is best to check directly with the board you are applying for)
  • You can improve your time management skills
  • Moderation and reporting enhances your CV
  • You can pass your newly learned knowledge onto your students
  • Amend your assessment criteria at your school on the basis of what you have learnt
  • Improves your spelling, punctuation and grammar, as you become more aware of sentence and essay structure

Do you Qualify?

Based upon the information that the examination board AQA provides on their website, these are their requirements you must have in order to apply:

  • You need to prove that you have been teaching (this still applies for newly qualified and retired teachers) for at least three full terms within the last three years.
  • You must be applying to mark the subject and level that you teach
  • You need appropriate academic qualification (usually a degree and a teaching qualification)
  • You must own your own PC/Laptop with access to the internet – this must be personal and not from work
  • You need to provide referee details – current/most recent head of school/department
  • You need to be a UK resident

AQA Application Process

1. Applying

Your application is first submitted via an on-line form, this will take you approximately 30 minutes to fill in and you will need to provide experience, qualification and referees.

2. First Assessment

Your CV will then be screened against what the AQA requirements are, if you are successful then you will be notified. Then AQA will contact your referee for your reference.

3. Reference

 AQA will contact your referee within 7 working days of your successful application, there may be a slight delay in this during the exam months when the board becomes very busy.

4. Approval

 Once AQA has received your reference and they are happy with suitability, then your application becomes approved.

5. Group

 From this point onwards your application will be put into a holding pool; this means that you are now officially approved!

6. Request

 If a suitable job or position becomes available that they think it’s suitable to you then you will receive an invitation to mark for that particular job.

7. Accept or Decline

Then depending on your work load etc., you can either accept or decline the invitation, if you decline this invitation it is not a problem, you will remain in the holding pool for a further two invitations. However, once you have declined 3 invitations in a row you will be removed from the pool/database and you will have to reapply again if you want to receive any jobs in the future.

This application process only applies to the AQA examination board, if you want to apply to a different moderation board then you will have to check their website for individual ways of applying. Remember by marking others work you not only get a better understanding of the topic, but you will also learn to appreciate diverse writing styles.

There are then many opportunities to enable change in your own school and influence your individual way of teaching. Once you have started marking a few exam papers you will get a feel for how the questions should be answered, this means then when you go back to your in-class tests it is important to gear these towards the final exam. By using an exam builder and marking software you will be able to tailor the questions and answers using similar characteristics of the final exam, this means you will be able to prepare your students without them even knowing.