Appointee Management Case Studies

Kenneth Robertson — Vetter

Kenneth Robertson — VetterI am currently Principal Teacher of Chemistry at The High School of Glasgow, a position I have held since 2002. I became involved with SQA during the implementation of Higher Still, acting as a Visiting Examiner for the Advanced Higher Investigation. I have continued as a Marker for the Investigation, and also now mark Section B of the Advanced Higher Chemistry Examination. I was asked to join the SQA Chemistry Assessment Panel and it is through this that I became involved as a Vetter for the Advanced Higher Chemistry Examinations.

The job of a Vetter is a very important one. The main aspect of the role is to ensure a consistent application of National Standards and subject-specific integrity of decision-making for the external assessment. This involves working with the Principal Assessor and the Setters on the assessment materials they have produced. In Chemistry, this has involved agreeing the selection of Item Bank questions for the fixed-response section of the paper, and reviewing the written response section of the paper to ensure that the questions being asked are valid, balanced, accurate and relevant to the Course. Generally this is done one or two years before the paper is due to be set as the external examination.

Being involved as a Vetter has helped me professionally in a number of ways:

  • I have a greater awareness of the construction of a paper to ensure balance and consistency and the procedures and checks carried out by SQA
  • I have an appreciation of the amount of time spent in the preparation stages of an external examination paper.
  • I have been able to apply, within my own centre, a critical and reviewing eye to examination questions to ensure their validity with more confidence than before.

I am grateful to my school for allowing me to continue my involvement with SQA. Through this involvement I have made many friends and contacts within the teaching profession who are always willing to comment and give advice on current curriculum issues. If you are thinking about becoming an appointee, I would encourage you to do so. The benefits are clear, and you will gain a much better understanding of examination construction.