One of the main exam boards in England has admitted that it was so short of experienced examiners in a GCSE subjects this summer that it drafted in its office staff to help to mark the papers.
Edexcel employed its own administrative and secretarial staff to mark the religious education GCSE papers this year under pressure to deliver the results on time, reports The Guardian.
The board refused to say how many of its staff had been employed to mark answers but one senior examiner who witnessed the practice told the newspaper it had happened across its London offices.
“I’m concerned for the candidates who sat these papers and really I’m outraged that it’s being done in a secretive manner,” said the examiner. “It’s the first time in 20 years I’ve heard of clerical staff being drafted in to mark papers.”
A spokeswoman for Edexcel told The Guardian that the company sometimes trained graduates to mark papers where there was a shortage of experienced markers and teachers. Any Edexcel employee who marked exams would have a relevant degree for the subject, in this case any humanities degree, she said.
“Across the boards for many years there has been a shortage of religious education examiners. In line with other companies we have used graduates to compensate. There’s no question of standards dropping. They marked short answers where they are looking for specific words,” she said.