Examination Boards in the UK are the official bodies that set and mark exams for qualifications such as GCSEs, A levels and BTEC vocational qualifications. Jobs with examination boards are well suited towards candidates with teaching or lecturing experience, as well as a degree or postgraduate qualifications.
Careers with Exam Boards
Typical roles within Exam Boards include:
- Examiner (marking submissions in accord with set guidelines)
- Principal Examiner (produces question papers and marking schemes)
- Moderator (direct assessment of component parts of an exam, such as coursework)
- Chair of Examiners (ensures standards are maintained from year to year)
- Project Manager (analysing the efficacy of exams and proposing changes)
Some of the above roles are only available at certain times of the year. Examiners, for example, are commonly employed for the summer months when the standard GCSE and A-level test are taken. There are also opportunities for employment following the mid-year exams, usually taken in December.
Examination Board Employers
There are a number of Exam Boards in UK. Some of them are educational charities, others are run by profit-making companies, while others are run by local authorities. The JCQ (Joint Council for Qualifications) is a collaboration between a number of different Exam Boards.
Finding a job
Vacancies are advertised on the websites of each exam board (see above for links). Some exam boards require you to register with them if you want to be used for specific examinations. It can be a way to earn some extra income for current or trainee teachers.
Benefits of working for Examination Boards
A career with examination boards can be rewarding in that you will have a direct impact on education in the UK. Examiners are required to use analytical thinking, and a complete knowledge of specific subjects is essential. Extra money can be earned by marking exams if it is carried out in addition to a salaried position. You could also pursue examinations as a career choice if you want to be involved in setting exam papers or regulating examination boards (a career with the Department for Education may also be viable).
Your skills as a researcher or academic will be put to good use by exam boards. The ideal employee needs to be:
- Able to work under pressure
- Able to meet tight deadlines
- Highly competent in the chosen subject
- Capable of analysing exam papers against standard criteria
- Capable of concentrating for extended periods