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Calls for marking state exams to be part of teachers' jobs

Teachers who choose to mark exam papers during the summer are paid extra on top of their salaries. There are calls for the bonus payments system to be reviewed.

Image: [File photo] Photocall Ireland

THERE ARE CALLS for the bonus payments attached to supervising and marking state examination papers to be reviewed.

The Irish Daily Mail (print edition) reports that up to €30 million is being paid to teachers for supervising and marking exams, with nearly 9,000 teachers a year taking part.

Labour TD Michael McCarthy recently raised the issue via a parliamentary question and asked for information on how much is spent on exam supervisors and markers. He said today that there is a need for a radical shake up of the system whereby tens of millions is being spent each year, calling the current scheme, whereby millions is paid out to teachers during the summer months “unsustainable”.

McCarthy said today that there are proposals due in the autumn from the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment on reform of the Junior Cert and:

There is a wonderful opportunity here to increase the level of assessment carried out within our schools, thereby cutting out some of the costs of hiring teachers to supervise and mark exam papers.

The figures from the State Examinations Commission reveal that almost €16 million was paid out to those marking papers in 2010, along with a further €2,289 in expenses – for the likes of mileage and other expenses.

The Commission also said that examiners are usually recruited from practising teachers, who mark up to 350 papers in a 26 day period during their paid summer holidays, according to the Daily Mail. The pay rate differs for marking different subjects.

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The general secretary of the Association of  Secondary School Teachers in Ireland has defended these bonus payments to teachers, and said that correcting exams is very difficult and time-consuming work, reports Breaking News.

The ASTI also said that not all teachers take up the extra work, and that the bonus payments maintain the integrity of the state examinations system and ensure high quality.

About the author:

Emer McLysaght

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