This links and references in this blog have been updated from when the blog was first published in January 2018.
A guest post from Jugjit Chima, founder of The Exams Office, who shares his seven steps to successful invigilation training for your school or college.
In preparation for the summer exams series, one of the tasks which schools and colleges must carry out is to train and/or update their invigilators. This is a requirement set out by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) (Section 12, page 20 of the Instructions for conducting examinations):
The importance of well prepared and fully trained invigilators cannot be underestimated. Your invigilation team will not only make sure exams run smoothly in your school or college, they will also help to create the conditions where your students can perform to the best of their ability.
Inadequate or sub-standard training could lead to candidate malpractice, complaints from candidates (and parents) and possibly failing the JCQ centre inspection. So, please take the time to invest in your invigilation team.
Here are seven steps to making sure you have a successful invigilator training programme in place.
Take advantage of the support offered by the awarding bodies and The Exams Office.
For example, there is free training for new invigilators (which can also be used by exams officers to help deliver training) and a range of resources – including presentation templates, presenter notes and videos (login required) – on The Exams Office website.
If you are new to the role of exams officer and would like an experienced trainer to deliver an invigilator training session in your centre, please contact The Exams Office.
The exams officer has been appointed by the head of centre to manage examinations, and all invigilators must be aware they report to the exams officer.
Invigilators are appointed to ‘observe, note and report' and to create ‘a level playing field’ so they can maintain the integrity and security of examinations in your centre.
Make sure all invigilators are clear about the expectations and the importance of knowing and adhering to JCQ’s regulations at all times, unless you inform them of centre-specific actions.
Make sure invigilators are aware the JCQ expects them to do the following (as detailed in sections 12.1 & 12.2, pages 20 and 21 of the Instructions for conducting examinations):
Invigilators must not:
Although the JCQ only requires training to be provided for new invigilators, you should also consider offering this to experienced invigilators. Not only will this ‘refresher course’ remind them of the importance of adhering to JCQ requirements and your expectations, but they can also use their experience to support colleagues who are newly appointed to the role of invigilation.
A training session for both new and experienced invigilators should include regulation changes for the current academic year. This will achieve two aims – familiarising new invigilators with some of the JCQ’s requirements, whilst also updating experienced invigilators. Training should also include instructions on the actions to be taken in the event of an emergency.
There may also be a requirement to carry out additional training on areas such as child protection and safeguarding.
A comprehensive training programme will take two to three hours to deliver, so make sure the content is varied and engaging. Suggested content includes:
As well as providing factual information around JCQ requirements, include areas of discussion (for example, ‘how would you deal with a candidate who is unwell during an examination?’) and activities to test understanding (for example, a ‘True or False’ section which asks such questions as ‘Are candidates allowed to wear wrist watches during their examination?’, or ‘Are centres permitted to hold a coaching session in the examination room before an examination?’).
If there are candidates in your centres with access arrangements then you must make sure your invigilators are aware of what is/is not permitted.
On each exams day, make sure invigilators are aware of candidates with access arrangements. The guidance within the JCQ Access Arrangements and Reasonable Adjustments booklet provides excellent support – particularly the reader and scribe memory aids on pages 96 and 97.
Facilitators of access arrangements (such as readers and scribes) must realise where there is 1:1 invigilation for a particular arrangement, their primary role is that of invigilator.
Introduce invigilators to candidates at a pre-exams briefing/assembly. At this meeting, make the role of invigilators clear to candidates – including centre expectations and JCQ’s rules and regulations. You should also outline the potential penalties for engaging in malpractice.
Invigilators require a variety of information before any exams series. Provide them with a rota of when they are required to invigilate. You should also let them know your general expectations, such as when they should attend your centre before an examination session, the dress code, and the procedure for informing the exams officer of their absence in the event of illness or other unforeseen circumstances.
Jugjit Chima – Founder of The Exams Office
Jugjit Chima leads The Exams Office, which set up a support service for exams office staff in February 2014. It currently has over 4300 members across 3000+ schools and colleges, making it the largest exams support organisation in the UK. Jugjit has worked in a range of educational roles. He has served as Head of History and Head of Year at two English secondary schools. He also led the Department for Education’s Exams Delivery Support field team in the North West and West Midlands before being appointed as National Manager.