In this blog, Kamran talks about remote marking whilst living outside the UK, and shares his guidelines for keeping his marking on track.
When I first received the invitation to mark papers, my reaction was a mix of excitement and fear. Thanks to my embarrassingly low level of tech-savviness, I was afraid of learning and operating a new marking software. Yet to my pleasant surprise, the marking system used by OCR, RM Assessor, turned out to be extremely user-friendly and along with continuous guidance from the Mark Scheme and my Team Leader, made marking very easy. I enjoyed working on the practice scripts as I could see a direct correlation between the time spent on understanding the Mark Scheme and the similarity in agreed marks and marks awarded by myself. If I ever needed any convincing on the importance of reading and understanding every single word of the Mark Scheme, the practice scripts well-served this purpose.
In the last few years, I have enjoyed working with over ten Team Leaders who ensured that my marking was valid and reliable. They were invariably supportive, and their feedback was immediate and relevant. Not living in the UK, I have always found RM Assessor to be the best medium to communicate with them remotely as one can conveniently refer back to all written advice as and when the need arises during marking.
Managing marking, however, may occasionally require additional time investments. In my personal experience, that has more often than not stood true, particularly during the summer series and when marking for more than one qualification. When key dates for qualifications fall a few days apart this can provide some relief, however, when key dates across panels are closer together I find myself falling short of novel ideas to simultaneously work on multiple panels – if only clones could descend from the heavens as Christmas gifts during the busy marking session! Given the odds, however, my only respite is being an overseas marker with a few additional hours ahead of BST!
To our budding markers, my advice would be to spend maximum time on understanding the Mark Scheme, practice and standardisation scripts. In addition to improving quality, an additional hour spent during standardisation saves many during live marking. Setting daily targets for marking and keeping a cushion for contingencies is also often useful. Needless to say, a quiet space with zero distraction is pre-requisite number one for quality marking! Putting all that in a MARK acronym:
M: Mark scheme, practice and standardisation scripts – familiarise yourself with these
A: Ask your Team Leader whenever in doubt
R: Regular pace - slow and steady wins the race
K: Know your targets – set them, daily and weekly
Are there particular guidelines or habits that you like to stick to when marking? Let us know what they are. OCR Assessment Specialists can share their experiences in the Assessment Specialist Community. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for an invitation.
Kamran Malik, OCR Examiner for GCSE Economics, the UK Economy and Globalisation