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

Coders undertaking the key stage 1 (KS1) and/or key stage 2 (KS2) Item Validation Trial (IVT) must have a minimum of 1 year coding experience as a deputy lead coder or lead coder and have relevant teaching experience. Coders will be expected to undertake discussions within a group environment, apply analytical, critical thinking to pupil responses and suggest improvements of the coding frames. Coders should act in a professional manner, and follow the confidentiality and security processes in accordance with SQA/STA policy and instructions.

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 coders’ own time.

Outline of Duties

During Central Coding

  • Take direction from the STA Test Development Researchers (TDRs) and the SQA in regards to the coding process.
  • Participate in group discussions led by the TDR on pupil responses.
  • Contribute to the development of the coding frames.
  • Identify exemplification material to support the development of items and coding frames.
  • Work collaboratively and professionally in order to ensure all processes and procedures are adhered to, and feedback to STA and SQA as appropriate.
  • Ensure all script queries are coded and complete additional coding for incorrect/omitted codes, if required, 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. All coding activities and information shared should be treated confidentially.
  • Carry out clerical checks as directed by SQA and STA.

Completion of Central Coding

  • Submit a coder report to STA.

Selection Criteria

Successful applicants must:

  • Have subject specific knowledge.
  • Qualified Teacher Status.
  • Have a minimum of 3 years teaching experience at key stage 1 and/or 2. Have completed coding (to the required quality standard) in the current or most recent coding cycle for the relevant subject for example KS1/KS2 item validation trial and/or technical pre-test.
  • Have a minimum of 1 year coding experience as a lead coder or deputy lead coder in the relevant subject for an IVT or TPT.
  • Be available for all central coding dates.
  • 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 key stage.
  • Be able to communicate confidently, effectively and professionally with their team members, 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 deliver at pace to meet deadlines.
  • Be accountable for the secure materials they handle during the process by adhering to confidentiality agreement, terms and conditions and advice from SQA Staff.
  • Have a secure personal device with broadband internet connection and a private e-mail address and be proficient in the basic use of IT
  • Not appear on any barring or vetting list that prohibits them from working with children, have left the profession due to misconduct or be subject to current misconduct proceedings.

Coders can be:

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

Assessing the performance of a Coder

On completion of coding, coders will be assessed against the Key Performance Measures (KPMs) below.  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 - Coder

  • KPM 1 – Attend Central Coding and successfully complete all tasks as directed by SQA and STA.
  • KPM 2 – Ensure consistent quality assurance of peers’ coding, providing verbal feedback and completing coder assurance forms as required.
  • KPM 3 – Complete all administrative tasks as outlined in the Handbook for Coders.
  • KPM 4 – Escalate issues to SQA/STA promptly.
  • KPM 5 – Demonstrate behaviours outlined in Section 2.1 Code of Conduct in the Terms and Conditions of Appointment, which support SQA’s values.
  • KPM 6 – Work co-operatively and professionally with your peers, STA and SQA staff throughout the central coding event.

Process for assessing Coder performance

Each 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 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.  Coders who fall into this category will be informed and will receive a copy of the appropriate performance feedback form.