Dear Reader, winter marking season is officially open.

As Head of School I have used my executive powers to allocate marking tasks: even as I sit here contemplating the half-dozen final year Esoteric Runeologics exams I have selected for myself I can hear the plaintive wails of ‘anyone got a spare wheelbarrow?’ in the corridor outside my office.

The strong do what they can, I say to myself, while the weak suffer what they must.

So, dear Reader, while I have some time in hand, let me share with you my 3 Easy Steps to Marking:

1. Write out the following marking criteria:

  • ‘beyond appalling’
  • ‘stultifying’
  • ‘terrible but must bear in mind author’s sad but untreatable deficiencies’
  • ‘surprisingly competent’
  • ‘gives rise to murderous feelings of envy’ (this last, of course, exceedingly rare).

Now allocate the numbers 1-5 to your criteria.  Keep to hand for reference.

2.  Mark scripts accordingly, remembering to use only red or green pen.* Then convert the numbers 1-5 into whatever unnecessarily arcane numbering and/or class-based system your university uses.

3. At moderation meeting, refuse to give way on any of your marks, quoting at length from the script in question if need be. It does not do to let standards slip.

That’s it, dear Reader. I hope this has helped you as you wobble your own wheelbarrow of scripts down the corridor.

More soon on how to survive the first week of teaching.



In accordance with the Speccy Amendment (23.01.14 comment 1) all pens used must now be glitter pens only. Failure to comply will incur a severe penalty.


7 thoughts on “Marking Time, in 3 Easy Steps

  1. And when did you imagine I’d have the time to take up a Kraft? A skip load of scripts has just been reversed up to my secure offsite office and all my glitter pens have dried up.

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