Becoming an SQA marker - Lexi's story

Our markers perform a role which is vital to the success of the exam diet, that of ensuring candidates’ answers to the exams they sit are marked to a national standard, and within a specified time frame.

Dance teacher Lexi, from Aberdeenshire, says she’s gone from dreading everyday coursework marking, to considering exam marking as one of her favourite times of the year.

Why did you apply to become an SQA marker?

I was keen to expand my professional knowledge. I really enjoyed participating in the Visiting Assessment process, being a member of the National Qualifications Support Team (NQST) and taking on roles as Assessment Reviewer and Principal Verifier within Dance. This was the next natural step.

What has your experience been like as an SQA marker?

My first year, I was excited to be participating in Question Paper (QP) marking. Dance is centrally marked, meaning we mark at the SQA offices. This was quite nerve racking the first time around.

Since then, I have gone from an apprehensive marker, marking my own candidates work during class time, to a confident marker that loves the challenges that the marking event provides.

I now genuinely love marking papers and get excited for that time of year. It is such a positive, collaborative and enjoyable experience.

Each year, once we have been through the standardisation and received our training, we normally break for lunch then begin marking our scripts (QP) afterward. It is not often that a group of professionals that share a passion for Dance cut our lunch time chats short – but we are all so keen to get back to marking our papers!

It really is such a lovely, helpful and supportive environment so we work really well as a team. This mood and ambience is obviously set by the Principal Assessor (PA) and Deputy Principal Assessor (DPA).

The best part is that you are made to feel that no question is too silly which makes you feel more excited as you feel so supported as opposed to apprehensive.

How has being an SQA marker benefited you?

The professional development you receive from marking the scripts (QPs) and also partaking in professional dialogue with colleagues who share your passion, in my opinion is the best CPD you can receive.

When I first started out in my career 17 years ago, marking was always something I dreaded if I am being honest. Now I have built up the confidence to not only be a confident QP marker, but also a confident teacher. I can mark my students work and know the constructive feedback I provide is accurate, valid, reliable and helpful to build on their knowledge and understanding.

SQA has opportunities for markers across all subjects and levels, and full training will be provided. For further information and to apply, you can visit our website or contact us with queries.