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Exam Marking Intrudes on Life of Private English Tutor

June 2, 2014
private english tutor stoke on trent

Thoughts From The Corner

Here we are again, that time of the year when this Private English Tutor loses the month of June due to exam marking.

I am sure that most of you have, at some time or other, taken an English exam. Have you ever given a thought to the minion at the other end of your two hours of blood, sweat and tears? That minion may well have been me! You may not live in the United Kingdom (perhaps not so ‘united’ in September when Scotland have their vote to break away) but the long arm of the British exam system stretches to many places around the globe. I mark iGCSE English papers. The ‘i’ stands for ‘International’. That means that your paper has been set and marked here in Britain.

A few days ago, somewhere, thousands of miles from me and my computer, sheep-like candidates nervously entered the exam room and completed a paper which they had been dreading for several years. The day of reckoning had arrived. We’ve all been there,  it’s no fun – but neither is marking them!

sheep

Sheep-Like, candidates enter the examination room

So then what?

Someone has the unenviable task of scanning the examination booklet and making it ready to be marked online. Yes, online. No longer do I receive packets containing hundreds of scripts being brought up the garden path by a bow-legged courier looking like an extra from a John Wayne film – younger readers please check Wikipedia for ‘John Wayne’.

Marking is done online. I chain myself to the computer chair (it’s big and ugly but it does recline) and stare for countless hours every day at the screen. As I plough through them, counting them down until I am on my last dozen or so at the end of June, I occasionally receive a message from my ‘Team Leader’. A marked script that has been included in my batch (not one I am aware of) has a part of it that has not been marked as accurately as it should have done. It may be one point out of fifty that I missed – it may be more! So I check it, back-track over previously marked papers and check them and then apply the ‘correct’ marking to all future papers.

Social Media

Exam Marking is done online

Then what? Well, the third week in August (on a Thursday) those candidates will receive their grades. I don’t know who they are or which part of the world they are in but I am certain they will not have given much thought to the small cog in the exam machine that marked their paper. :-)

What about that small cog? I await the cheque for my hard labour and move on to the third draft of my novel.

Seeing Unseen has recently had a professional edit and is patiently sitting in its folder awaiting my attention. Looking at loneliness, delusion, cyber stalking and the resultant underage relationship, my first novel will be available in 2015. Before then it is possible to watch it being played out on Pinterest. Week by week I am playing out the narrative in images. Please see the latest installment at: Seeing Unssen.

It only remains for this private English tutor to tune in to the webinar later this week to be informed of the marking scheme for the English paper, then to immerse myself in virtual English papers for the next month. :-(

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4 Comments
  1. Is there somewhere I can take that test. Dean? I love tests and exams :D

    • Love test and exams. . . must be the Belgium bit in you. :-) The level is GCSE i.e. that taken by kids at 16 but many adults do also take it when returning to education.

      Enquire at your local college about English GCSE although I suspect that you may prefer the level above ‘A’ level English.

      • Probably, they’re all a bit weird, those Belgians, which is why some of them escape to more relaxed countries like the island of Ireland. The test-loving bit will always be a Belgian trait though :D

        Just followed your Pin board. There’s so much great info on there.

        Will look for more GCSE English tests and see what I an find out :D

      • Thanks for following the board. The attempt at my novel through images is an experiment that I am enjoying.

        I like Pinterest because because it doesn’t take much thought. I’m a sucker for great images and quotes.

        Look also at ‘A’ level English literature.

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