SCHOOLS in the UK should consider outsourcing exam marking to India to reduce costs and teachers’ workload, a leading UK-based academic and education researcher has suggested.
Rebecca Allen of University College London’s Institute of Education and director of Education Datalab pointed out that one British board was already using a Bangalore-based company to mark critical exams in reading, maths and ICT.
“We have several problems here. It’s [marking in India] incredibly reliable marking. So we’ve got to think in radically different ways about reducing workload, not just saying ‘that’s paperwork’,” Allen said during an Education Media Centre event in London this week.
Research projects had found accurate marking could be carried out overseas, in countries such as India, for about £3 per hour or less, Allen said.
Teachers could still review marked work and what had happened in the classroom, she said, adding that another
approach likely was to use computer technology.
However, others raised concerns over the outsourcing of what is seen as a critical aspect of teaching.
“Marking of pupils’ work is an integral part of the professional duties of a teacher. Teachers need to read pupils’ work to see to what degree they have understood what they have been taught,” Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, told The Times.
“I wouldn’t want to be teaching a class without looking at their books and planning a lesson that incorporates an evaluation of the work they’ve done,” Brian said.