The AEU Secondary Colleges Committee of Management (SCCOM), has intervened to avert impending chaos in TCE exam marking. Due to budget cuts and a convoluted application process created by The Office of Tasmanian Assessment, Standards and Certification (TASC), the required amount of staff to mark TCE exams has not been met.
After several calls, emails and meetings, the AEU has been assured TASC will provide the required number of markers to ensure exams are marked on time and to sufficient quality. However, the AEU awaits confirmation that this will be the case, and calls on TASC to follow through with their promises.
AEU SCCOM President, Peta-Maree Revell-Cook says that due to a lack of consultation and a poor application process, there is currently a significant lack of markers required to mark student’s exams, and that TASC must follow through with promises to bring on more markers.
“Not having enough staff means that markers will be rushed to get everything marked on the tight deadline, which means the quality of the marking will inevitably suffer. Things might slip through the cracks. We need assurance that TASC will provide adequate numbers of markers for every subject so that this crisis will be avoided,” said Ms Revell-Cook.
“The AEU has been contacting TASC since July to highlight these issues, yet only now, in the 11th hour, has TASC sought to rectify these issues, causing undue stress to teachers in the busiest time of year. There is simply not enough people to do the job. This has come about through lack of consultation with a new application process, which has been exclusionary. TASC has been unprepared to negotiate, and hasn’t taken on feedback from teachers, SCCOM and the AEU. It is only now have they realised the significant mistakes they have made, when they’ve been forced to face the issues we raised four months ago, head on,” said Ms Revell-Cook.
“To put this into perspective, one of the Health and PE subjects, which requires 20 markers, has only been allocated 10 markers, to complete 115 hours of marking. This is simply not enough. And this is indicative of poor resourcing across the board. If you want to be the education state, you need to invest resources into education. It is through the good intent of teachers and the AEU that this crisis has been averted. It is through this good intent that students can go to exams without the stress of not having their exams marked,” said Ms Revell-Cook.
Helen Richardson, AEU President says the TASC application process has been exclusionary, and has led to a detrimental lack of marking staff.
“Lack of consultation in implementing a new, subpar process has meant that part time teachers, and retired experts have been excluded from the marking pool. This has led to a significant reduction in the number of required marking staff. TASC have tried to reinvent the wheel, and failed. They have been unprepared to negotiate or take on feedback. This shows a manifest lack of respect for the teaching profession from TASC. Teachers will go above and beyond to ensure there is no additional stress placed on students in this incredibly stressful time, and that this mismanagement does not filter down to the student’s results. But this does come at a cost. If this situation isn’t rectified, inevitably the quality of the marking will take a hit. TASC must follow through with their assurances that adequate resources will be provided,” said Ms Richardson.
Peta-Maree Revell-Cook says assurances have been made, but she wants to see follow through.
“At this stage we’ve been given assurances that extra human resources will be deployed, but we need to make sure they are actually delivered. While it is too late to avoid disruption to teachers, they will be doing everything they can to prevent disruption to students. We have been trying to get this solved for months, and we’re prepared to do whatever it takes to get this solved, so that it doesn’t affect kids and student outcomes,” said Ms Revell-Cook.
“We are calling for evidence that TASC, the Department of Education and the Government have provided follow through on their assurance that they will provide adequate resources to mark TCE exams. We’re calling for concrete demonstrations that marking coordinators will have access to the resources, and are allocated the numbers of markers they need to get the job done effectively. The Government needs to put people above profits, to put students before budgets at this crucial time in these student’s education, and their lives. TASC needs to provide additional resources to ensure marking coordinators are allocated sufficient human resources to complete the marking schedule required for these marking subjects in a timely and efficient manner,” said Ms Revell-Cook.