How do you go about negotiating time to mark GCSE and A Level work? If you get a day off timetable to do this, you are lucky as many art departments don’t. Here are some ideas to use to your advantage when talking to your Head Teacher or senior leadership team. Demand time to assess!
You have to make some assumptions. Assume it takes 20 minutes to mark one student. (In non-covid times that is only 10 minutes for each component). You may wish to pick another number. I’m assuming I know the work well, and that there has been some assessment as the course has progressed. Times 20 minutes by the number of students you have, and BAM! you have a quantity of time needed. Of course, you may not get that much time, but it’s a starting point for negotiations and highlights the huge amount of time needed.
Ask when you are supposed to fit this time into your week. This is especially difficult because best practice means you shouldn’t be marking alone.
Other subjects in your school do not have to mark their student’s exam work. The work is sent off to be marked. The teachers who mark this work are paid to mark it in their own time. You are not.
If there are a number of you in your department, it is unlikely that everyone is going to be given time off-timetable to mark. Who is going to mark the work? If you are a head of department you may want to pick the person with the most experience or you may want to pick someone who could benefit from the experience of marking. Look at your department’s timetable. Find a day when you and your colleague have the least teaching periods. This will have the least impact on the cost of cover and your classes. If you have a number of periods of cover required, this may help your negotiations.
In the document ‘Art & Design Education, a Guide for Governors and Trustees’ which is a guide developed by The Arts Council England, NSEAD and the National Governance Association, it states that art teachers need dedicated time to mark. It states:
“Are you aware that art and design teachers need dedicated time to mark and internally standardise
work within the examination period?”
You can see this document here. See page 6.
You cannot have teachers within a department marking in isolation unless you are a department of one. If you are a department of two or more, one person has to ensure that you have consistent marking standards. You can read about internal standardisation on the AQA website here which also has some useful ideas if you are a department of one.
If you do manage to get a day off timetable to mark, it’s still a huge, exhausting challenge to get it done in one day. It helps if all teachers have pre-marked, using the assessment objectives so that you can rank order students from different teaching groups.
Always mark from the bottom up, looking to reward achievement rather than taking marks off. Celebrate what your students have achieved!
There are more posts on The Arty Teacher website about running an art department.
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