Examen ex machina

So the latest stage in the saga of Invader-Xan-has-no-funding-left has shown me yet another side to the University machine. This time of year brings a plethora of miscellaneous opportunities to work and get bonus income in the educational sector. You may remember a few weeks ago, I found myself in the exams office preparing exam scripts to be despatched to rooms full of nervous undergrads. Well now I find myself at the other end.

The exam papers which I’m helping in the marking of are fairly important and international. It’s all quite stern and strict in a lot of ways – including the fact that phones, cameras, and indeed essentially any electronic devices aren’t allowed to be in the building while switched on. So instead of my traditional random photograph, here’s a picture of a rubber duck.

If you think sitting exams is rough, marking them on the large scale is actually even rougher. Stacks upon stacks of exam papers, all containing the same small handful of questions. Interesting, the conditions under which the exams are marked aren’t hugely different do the conditions under which they’re taken. Rooms full of people sitting at desks, silently checking over pages of writing, with a single authority figure sitting at a desk at the front of the room facing back the other way. It makes me feel oddly like I’m back in school actually.

I wonder what further adventures behind the scenes of academia I’ll get to enjoy next…

Image by zearogravity @deviantART

About Invader Xan

Molecular astrophysicist, usually found writing frenziedly, staring at the sky, or drinking mojitos.
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2 Responses to Examen ex machina

  1. Ash says:

    Thanks for this. Is marking this level of paper like marking GCSE’s – with a clear marking scheme, examples of answers, and key words that need to be in the answer?

    • invaderxan says:

      The papers I’m marking, yes. For anything requiring more than keywords and example answers, they don’t tend to take on temps to work on them – for instance, most university-level module exams are typically marked by the academic who set them (or sometimes a PhD student or similar minion).

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