Lead Coder

A Lead Coder undertakes distinct procedures prior to and during coding under the guidance of the SQA in accordance with SQA policy and instructions.

The primary role is to lead, support and work with the team of Coders. The Lead Coder must ensure consistent application of the coding frames and ensure the subject specific integrity of the teams’ decision-making in relation to coding.

Activities will be under the direction of both SQA and the Standards and Testing Agency (STA) as appropriate. There will be a requirement to undertake duties during weekends and in your own time.

Outline of Duties

Before Central Coding

  • Carry out preparation work for pre-coding events as set out in the Lead Coders’ contract and the Handbook for Lead Coders.
  • Take direction from the STA Test Development Researchers (TDRs) and SQA in regards to the pre-coding process.
  • Attend and support pre-coding meetings.
  • Work collaboratively and professionally to ensure completion of pre-coding, and training activities.
  • Prepare Coder training and select practice material to deliver at the central coding event.

During Central Coding

  • Lead the delivery of Coder training.
  • Lead the quality assurance process during central coding as outlined in the Handbook for Lead Coders.
  • Lead the exemplification process to support the development of items and coding frames.
  • Work collaboratively and professionally in order to ensure all processes and procedures are adhered too, and feedback to STA as appropriate.
  • Lead and quality-assure Coders during the central coding event.
  • Undertake the role of a coder to code any uncoded scripts or scripts that require re-coding.
  • Ensure all script queries are coded before leaving the central coding event.
  • Escalate any issues promptly to SQA and/or STA.
  • Be accountable for the safe and secure handling of materials at the event, making sure processes and procedures are followed correctly.
  • Carry out clerical checks as directed by SQA and STA.

Completion of Central Coding

  • Attend a meeting with the STA TDR following the coding event to discuss coding frames based on experience gained from the central coding event.
  • Undertake performance management reviews for Coders.
  • Submit a Lead Coder Report to STA.
  • Attend a one-day meeting with STA TDRs to discuss the final Lead Coders report.

Selection Criteria

Successful applicants must:

  • Be available for all pre-coding and central coding dates.
  • Have subject specific knowledge.
  • Have a minimum of 3 years teaching experience at key stage 1, 2 or 3. Have completed coding (to the required quality standard) in the current or most recent live test coding cycle for the relevant subject for example KS1/KS2 item validation trial and/or technical pre-test.
  • Qualified Teacher Status.
  • Be able to demonstrate excellent interpersonal skills and be able to engage positively with all members of their team.
  • Have experience in other key roles demonstrating competence within their subject and level(s), for example Deputy Lead Coder or team leader in previous trials.
  • Be able to communicate confidently, effectively and professionally with their teams, STA and SQA staff both orally and in writing.
  • Be able to work co-operatively and professionally with Coders, STA and SQA staff, taking and providing feedback as appropriate.
  • Be able to demonstrate excellent organisational and administrative skills with an ability to meet deadlines.
  • Be accountable for the secure materials they handle during the process by adhering to confidentiality agreement, terms and conditions and advice and from STA and SQA Staff.
  • Have a secure personal device with broadband internet connection and a private e-mail address.

Lead Coders can be:

  • Currently teaching (including on maternity / paternity leave).
  • Recently retired from teaching.
  • A former teacher now working in another field.
  • Supply or part-time teachers

Assessing the performance of a Lead Coder

On completion of coding, Lead Coders will be assessed against the Key Performance Measures (KPMs) below.  Lead Coders will automatically be re-invited to apply for the following year’s trialling unless there have been issues with their performance.

Key performance measures (KPMs) for Lead Coder

  • KPM 1 – Attend pre-coding events and successfully complete all tasks as directed by SQA and STA.
  • KPM 2 – Successfully deliver Coder training and complete administrative tasks for practice scripts for each test version assigned during central coding.
  • KPM 3 – Ensure consistent quality assurance of Coders’ coding, providing verbal feedback to Coders.
  • KPM 4 – Complete all administrative tasks as outlined in the Handbook for Lead Coders.
  • KPM 5 – Escalate issues to SQA/STA promptly.
  • KPM 6 – Demonstrate behaviours outlined in Section 2.1 Code of Conduct in the Terms and Conditions of Appointment which support SQA’s values.
  • KPM 7 – Work co-operatively and professionally with your allocated Coders, STA and SQA staff throughout the pre-coding and central coding events.

Process for assessing Lead Coder performance

Each Lead Coder will be provided with performance feedback based on their KPMs:

  • A grade - fully met their KPMs (work is entirely consistent)
  • B grade - partially met their KPMs (work is generally acceptable)
  • C grade - did not meet their KPMs (work is unacceptable)

The assessment of the Lead Coders will be carried out by SQA and STA. Feedback performance forms will be completed for those who partially met or did not meet their KPMs. Lead Coders who fall into this category will be informed and will receive a copy of the appropriate performance feedback form.

Dates and Payment Details

Pre-coding dates Responsibility Fee Daily Attendance Fee (full day/half day)
13 July 2017 £260** £260/£130
21 – 24 July 2017    
Central coding dates
English grammar, punctuation and spelling (4 days)
21 August – 24 August 2017
£330** £260/£130
English reading and science (5 days)
21 August - 25 August 2017
£330** £260/£130

**One off payment