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Evaluating the benefits for teachers of marking

ACER news 2 minute read

Teachers are often encouraged to sign up to mark external exams or tests, not just for the extra money but also for promise of ‘professional development’. Current research is exploring the benefits – and drawbacks – of marking for teachers.

The promise of ‘professional development’ through external marking is common but little research has been done in Australia on the real gains, if any, conferred by the exercise. US research tells us that teachers describe a range of potential benefits, from gaining awareness of literacy behaviours of students to validation of their expertise.

As a PhD candidate at Edith Cowan University, Nathanael Reinertsen – a Perth-based research fellow in ACER’s Assessment and Psychometric Research team and former high school teacher – is collecting reflections from Australian teachers through an online survey. The research is ongoing, but initial responses indicate that there are diverse reasons that teachers decide to mark exams and large external assessments. Those reasons include it being ‘recommended by my head of department’, ‘for professional development’ and wanting to ‘maintain professional knowledge/development’. Some drawbacks – primarily, added time pressures – are also being reported.

Interestingly, markers unanimously recommend other teachers get involved in marking but narrowing down why is an ongoing process. Read Could marking exams improve your professional practice? in Teacher.

He is interested in hearing from educators who would like to contribute their voice to his research. Have you been a marker? Have you thought about marking? To participate in the research, go to

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