Exams marked by 600 non-teachers

More than 600 non-teachers corrected Junior and Leaving Certificate exams in the last five years, the State Examinations Commission (SEC) has admitted.

Most were students training to become second-level teachers, with experience of teaching the relevant subject, but the numbers with no formal teaching experience shot up from a handful in 2013 to nearly 40 last year.

Around 10 non-teachers a year were hired as Leaving Certificate examiners from 2013 to 2017, all but two each year studying for a postgraduate masters in education qualification to work in second-level. They typically account for 0.3% to 0.7% of the average 1,730 people recruited each year to mark Leaving Certificate students’ work.

However, at Junior Certificate level, more than one in nine of the SEC’s 1,881 examiners last year were not qualified to teach. The 214 people concerned represent almost treble the figure of 76 just two years earlier, and include 36 who only hold a third-level qualification in the subject, up from nine in 2015.

The figures emerged as the SEC continues to seek people to mark a final number of subjects, but it insists that all those it recruits are “appropriately qualified for the work”.

It said that 99.4% of those examining Leaving Certificate last year were qualified teachers. The corresponding figure for those examining Junior Certificate was 89% last year.

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