The marking per se is fine. It is onerous – each piece takes between 30 minutes and one hour. So, as I had contact with 30 students doing three pieces and ten doing two, that’s between 55 and 110 extra hours I’ve had to find over about one month. Even that isn’t so bad – most of the time I’m reading and commenting on interesting creative pieces. It actually helps me to reflect on my own work as well.
What actually causes me more stress personally is waiting for colleagues to moderate or have their work ready for moderating. It can be an anxious time anyway: what if they don’t agree with your marks at all? That rarely happens, thankfully. More often than not, if there is disagreement, it’s tiny and the discussion that follows is useful as it helps us to refine the marking process further.
Perhaps most of the anxiety, then, comes from knowing what has to be done next: we have to put the names on the scripts, enter the marks on to Gradebook, get those checked make sure any gaps are real gaps, split the papers, get copies of cover sheets and moderator’s comments to our exam officer and our support staff, and get a little pile sent off to the external examiner with a covering letter.
This always takes much more time than anticipated. Papers get detached and vital information buries itself. And several nails get broken. Bring on electronic marking, I say.