How becoming an examiner improves your teaching and earns you money

Bookmark and Share

The leading examination board OCR is looking for teachers who are passionate about their subjects to become GCSE and A Level examiners and assessors.

Becoming an OCR assessor gives you an extra source of income. But more importantly, it also helps you improve your own teaching practice, give exam advice and support to your colleagues, and help your students prepare for their exams.

To find out more, visit the OCR website at Here you’ll find detailed instructions on how to apply alongside videos and presentations on the benefits of becoming an OCR assessor.

How becoming an examiner helps you improve your own practice

Becoming an examiner with OCR has a valuable impact on your assessment process. You will also be able to increase knowledge of your subject and to better focus on the requirements set down by the assessment model.

With significant changes in how GCSE results are graded, working with an examination body will give you insight into how these changes can be translated into your own teaching objectives.

As an OCR assessor, you also reap the following benefits to your own practice:

  • Enhance your understanding of the specification that is being examined.
  • Keep up-to-date with your subject knowledge.
  • Gain valuable insights into how assessment decisions are made.
  • Help your students improve their exam technique

One teacher and OCR assessor, Anna Barry, says her experience has "had a really positive impact on the way I teach. It helps keep me up to speed with my specification and supplement my income… The insight examining gives you into the way the assessment system works is invaluable.”

But where will I find the time?

Marking is time-consuming. However, the time requirement is generally over a four-week period. Anna Barry says that the key is time management: “By being organised and disciplined, I found that I can fit examining around the needs of my family and my career.”

Plus, you are not on your own. OCR offers full training and support for its assessors.

Training is normally given six weeks before the date that you are due to begin marking, so there is plenty of time to help you prepare for your new role. The majority of the training can be done online and is conducted by OCR’s dedicated training team.

Some subject units do require assessors to complete face-to-face training. If this is the case, you will be given plenty of notice of when the training event will take place.

Like the training, marking is done online. During the assessment period, OCR offers full, on-going support. As part of a marking team, you will have a dedicated team leader who is there to answer any questions you may have.

There is also an Assessor Support Line staffed by experts who can answer all other questions about the process – from online marking, to dates and deadlines, to payments.

How becoming an assessor helps your students

Crucial to your new understanding of assessment is how you can use your knowledge to improve your pupils’ exam practice and their results.

Working as an assessor helps you audit your own subject knowledge, which can be immediately fed back into your own teaching. But, crucially, it also gives you a better insight into what the principal examiners expect from students.

Anna Barry gives an example from her own experience:

“Examining helps me prepare my students for their examinations by focusing on how they can produce answers which meet the expectations of the examination mark scheme. I’ve also been able to help my teaching colleagues by sharing my understanding of the examination system with them.”

As Anna says, working as an examiner will give you the knowledge to hone students’ exam techniques and help them communicate their answers in a way that best meets the assessment criteria - for instance, by working on techniques such as explanatory answers, and of course, preparing for the new importance placed on spelling, punctuation and grammar.

Do I need to be teaching the OCR specification to apply?

In short: no. OCR are looking for candidates that are meticulous in their approach to work and their time management. You also need to be IT literate; after all, you’re marking online. So you’ll also need a home computer and a reliable broadband connection too!

In terms of skills and experience, OCR are looking for assessors who are currently teaching their subject at the appropriate level.

Alternatively, you can have:

  • Recent teaching experience - for instance, as a retiree looking to bolster your income
  • A current or recent PGCE qualification including the classroom teaching element of the course and/or QTS status
  • A high-level of subject expertise and/or relevant knowledge of assessment.

To find out more and to apply, visit the OCR website at:

Image: ccarlstead (flickr)

School Leadership Today