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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 16 January, 2001, 10:36 GMT
Fees upgrade for exam markers
SQA staff
Fees for exam markers were criticised
Scotland's exam markers have been promised a 50% increase in fees this year.

Education Minister Jack McConnell said the move should be seen as a crucial step in helping to restore confidence in the country's exam system.

Markers will now be paid around 7.50 an hour, rather than the 5 they received last year.

Mr McConnell said there will also be a fundamental review of the fees given to the 7,000 markers and examiners in future years.

Jack McConnell
Mr McConnell: Promised changes in fees structure
One of the complaints during last year's exams fiasco was that examiners were being paid too little.

Mr McConnell said the Scottish Executive will meet the 3m bill for the increase in fees.

There will also be a further review for the years 2002 and beyond.

The minister said the fees increase was in recognition of the contribution of the "skilled teaching profession in the assessment process".

He said: "Last November I made clear the importance of ensuring that the SQA were able to recruit sufficient markers for diet 2001.

"This is a crucial step in helping to restore confidence in Scotland's exam system and ensuring the problems of last year do not resurface.

'Additional costs'

"The Scottish Qualifications Authority has considered the position and recommended a 50% increase in fees for 2001.

"I agree and we will fund the additional costs of raising fees to markers in full to the tune of 3m."

The minister expressed the hope that the increase will encourage teachers and lecturers to take on the key roles of markers, moderators and members of the examining teams and that the marking problems of last year will not resurface this year.

The Scottish Executive said the SQA will be reporting to the minister regularly on progress in recruiting markers.

History papers
"Fundamental review" of fees from 2002
The early warning group, chaired by Deputy Education Minister Nicol Stephen, has been tasked to monitor the situation closely.

Mr McConnell said: "It is not enough just to raise fees for 2001. We must look to the future and ensure a balanced and transparent fee structure that fully recognises the contribution of skilled teaching professionals in the assessment process.

"I have therefore also announced today a fundamental review of markers fees for 2002 and beyond.

"It will take a detailed look at the present arrangements and the views of teachers and lecturers and propose a structure of fees to ensure the SQA can recruit the people it needs in the future.

"The review will report to the SQA and to ministers in time for the recommendations to be implemented for Diet 2002."

'Peculiar year'

There has been some press speculation that Scotland's problems last year could be visited upon England and Wales this summer because of a shortage of markers for the revised A-level exams.

The chief executive of the Oxford, Cambridge and RSA Examinations Board, Ron McLone, told The Times: "We estimate that we will need about 20% more markers, because it is a peculiar year."

One head teacher said that doubling the average payment from 2.50 a script to 5 could be the only way to avert disaster, with a typical examiner currently marking about 200 scripts, receiving about 500 before tax for about 100 hours' work.


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13 Dec 00 | Scotland
12 Dec 00 | Scotland
11 Dec 00 | Scotland
10 Dec 00 | Scotland
09 Sep 00 | Scotland
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