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Writing Marker information

2024 General information to schools

In 2024, NAPLAN will be held during Term 1 from Wednesday 13 March to Monday 25 March.

In early September 2023, the VCAA will seek applications from qualified people who wish to be considered for appointment as markers for the NAPLAN writing task for 2024. Successful applicants will be notified in January 2024 to begin marking in March to April 2024. Approximately 300,000 writing scripts will be marked on screen.

What is the NAPLAN writing test

In Victoria and across the nation, all students in years 3, 5, 7 and 9 are asked to undertake the NAPLAN writing test. The writing task targets the full range of student capabilities expected of students from Years 3 to 9. The same marking guide is used to assess all students' writing, allowing for a national comparison of student writing capabilities across these year levels.

The Australian Curriculum: English requires students to be taught a variety of forms of writing at school. The three main text types (previously called genres) that are taught are imaginative writing (including narrative writing), informative writing and persuasive writing. In the writing tests, students are provided with a ‘writing stimulus’ (sometimes called a prompt – an idea or topic) and asked to write a response in a particular text type. Students are tested on either narrative writing or persuasive writing. Informative writing is not yet tested by NAPLAN.

For more information see the ACARA website.

Should you prepare students for the NAPLAN writing test?

Students who have read, written and created a range of texts in a range of classroom activities, are well prepared for the NAPLAN writing test.

Test practice that aims to familiarise students with NAPLAN test conditions is recommended as a useful support strategy. However, over-preparation and focus on any particular genre is inconsistent with the approach to teaching and learning described in the Victorian Curriculum F-10 and the National Curriculum. Over-preparation may also increase anxiety levels in students and lower performance levels under test conditions.

How do students respond to the NAPLAN writing test?

Persuasive writing

Students write to convince a reader of their opinion and structure their writing with an introduction, body and conclusion.

Students approach the NAPLAN persuasive writing test in different ways. Some students develop and justify their ideas, drawing on personal knowledge and experience or on more detailed general knowledge about a particular subject or issue. Some choose to present one side of the argument and may also include opposing arguments in order to rebut. Others seek to persuade by exploring both sides of the topic, before arriving at a clear and conclusive position.

Students also write in different forms. Most students present their argument in the form of an essay. Others choose to present their argument as a letter to the editor or as the text of a speech. Students may also use anecdotes or references to narratives such as films or novels to help convince their reader. Students cannot, however, present their entire response as a narrative (a story), or as a dramatised dialogue in which two characters argue.

Narrative writing

Students write a narrative or story that develops events, settings and characters to entertain, move, inform or enlighten readers. The structural components of the narrative are the orientation, the complication and the resolution.

Students develop events, settings and characters in different ways, using first or third person narrators and past or present tense action. They may draw directly on personal experience and observation, for example, family or school events; or they may construct scenarios from multiple secondary sources such as shared stories, urban myths, books, films and computer games.

Students develop their stories imaginatively in a variety of narrative types or sub-genres, including fantasy, horror, quest and ‘teen literature’. They use language appropriate to their chosen narrative type, and arrange dialogue, description and action to support or progress their story.

Students support their reader by providing a sense of time and/or place (an orientation); they engage their reader by injecting tension or drama into their story through, for example, a problem or unexpected occurrence (a complication); and they provide their reader with a sense of completion (a resolution) by ending their story in an appropriate way.

Do schools get to see their own NAPLAN student writing test responses?

Victorian schools can access scanned images of their students’ NAPLAN writing test responses, which coincide with the release of NAPLAN reports in Term 3.

Please refer to the following documents regarding the use of NAPLAN writing test responses.

General information for markers

Victorian NAPLAN writing marker information

The Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) is responsible for the administration and marking of the Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) tests.

Each year, the VCAA appoints suitable individuals to mark student responses for the NAPLAN writing tests, drawing from the pool of re-applicant markers and recruiting new markers.

The primary objective of the marking operation is to reliably mark student responses according to the national rubric. Markers gain valuable professional experience and are paid for their marking. Marker training will also contribute to the continuing professional development requirements for teacher registration.

What genre is the NAPLAN writing test?

The genre for the Writing test is either narrative or persuasive. The genre is not disclosed prior to the test day and students are not able to choose the genre in which they write their response. The genre is the same for all year levels and is not made known to students, teachers or markers prior to the test. The writing topic for Years 3 and 5 is different from that for Years 7 and 9. This is to ensure maximum engagement and fairness for all students for the test.

When do marker applications open?

In early September 2023, the VCAA seek applications from qualified people who wish to be considered for appointment as markers for the NAPLAN writing task for 2024. Successful applicants will be notified in January 2024 to begin marking in March to April 2024. Approximately 300,000 writing scripts will be marked on screen.

What is the commitment expected of markers?

To ensure test validity and accuracy in the marking of student responses for the 2024 NAPLAN writing tests, markers will need to:

  • complete scheduled mandatory marker training sessions - up to two days experienced marker/three days new marker
  • mark for the duration of the marking operation inclusively: approx. 35 days.
  • commit to a minimum of four hours per day (Day shift) and three hours per evening (Eve shift). This includes weekends.
  • nominate to be one of the following marker types, you cannot swap between shifts:

Day marker (Day)

One day off each seven days during the project to be negotiated with group leader

Markers mark every day, Monday to Friday (8.30am to 4pm) plus Saturdays and Sundays (8.30am to 5.30pm) (i.e. 5 weekdays + weekends)

Day markers agree to mark a minimum of four hours per shift.

Evening marker (Eve)

One day off each seven days during the project to be negotiated with group leader

Markers mark every day, Monday to Friday (3.30pm to 10pm) plus Saturdays and Sundays (8.30am to 5.30pm) (i.e. 5 weekday evenings + weekends)

Evening markers agree to mark a minimum of three hours per shift.

Marking timeline

2024 Marking dates

NAPLAN writing test

In 2024, NAPLAN tests will be held from 13 March. This means marking of NAPLAN scripts will be from 18 March until approximately 26 April 2024.

Applications are now open and close on Monday 27 November 2023 (or earlier if required number of suitable applicants have been selected).

Each year, the VCAA appoints suitable individuals to mark student responses for the NAPLAN writing tests, drawing from the pool of experienced markers and recruiting new markers.

The primary objective of the marking operation is to accurately mark student responses according to the national rubric.

Markers gain valuable professional experience and are paid for their marking. Marker training will also contribute to the continuing professional development requirements for teacher registration.

We encourage applicants to apply for the marking period between 18 March - 26 April (working six days a week and having the Easter period off 29 March - 1 April 2024).

What are the dates for the 2024 NAPLAN writing marking operation?

2023

September

December
  • Marker applications close

2024

January–March

  • Offers of appointment sent to successful applicants advising training and shift times.
  • Applicants are appointed.
  • Offers of appointment sent to group leaders and professional leaders.
  • Training of professional leaders and support staff.

From Wednesday 13 March - Monday 25 March

  • NAPLAN tests administered.

Monday 18 March - 26 April (approximately or until all scripts marked)

  • NAPLAN marking operation begins.

Selection criteria for markers

What qualifications do you need to mark NAPLAN writing?

You need to be in your final year of studying a relevant teaching degree or have a teaching degree specialising in English. It is also helpful to have experience teaching English. Relevant and recent marking experience is also taken into consideration. Current and retired English teachers are encouraged to apply.

What are the position statements for markers, group leaders and professional leaders?

Position descriptions

If you are interested in becoming a marker, please familiarise yourself with the position description: Marker - NAPLAN position description.

If you have two years’ experience marking NAPLAN writing and are interested in becoming a group leader or a professional leader, please familiarise yourself with the position descriptions:

Please note, applicants who wish to be considered for the position of group leader or professional leader must indicate their interest when applying to be a marker on their SSMS application. You must have proven NAPLAN writing marking experience to be selected as a group leader or professional leader.

 

Is there a Code of Conduct and conditions for all markers?

Yes. All employees of the VCAA are expected to adhere to the Code of Conduct as a condition of employment. Please look carefully at this before applying. Please also familiarise yourself with the conditions of employment.

Do you need a Working with Children Check (WWCC)?

You do not currently need a Working with Children Check to mark NAPLAN writing scripts as there is no contact with students.

Do you need a Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT) registration?

You do not need a valid VIT registration.

The VCAA does, however, seek to employ a quota of active teachers from across Victoria, to ensure knowledge of marking NAPLAN scripts is held by teachers in schools. Marking NAPLAN scripts is valuable professional development for teachers.

If you do have a VIT registration you will not need to go through the NCRHC (National Criminal Record History Check) process as this check is covered by your teaching registration.

Do you need a National Criminal Records History Check (NCRHC)?

Yes. As of 2021, all casual employees of the VCAA need either a NCRHC or a VIT registration as a condition of employment. The NCRHC must be obtained through the VCAA.

When do I need to obtain the National Criminal Records History Check (NCRHC)?

You will be directed by the VCAA when and how to obtain the NCRHC upon appointment if you do not have a current VIT registration.

How long does your last NCRCH last?

Once you have obtained a NCRHC through the VCAA, it is current for a two-year period.

How are markers selected each year?

The selection of markers each year is influenced by a combination of requirements that include:

  • maintaining a pool of experienced markers
  • the number of markers required to complete marking within the given timeframe
  • opportunity for employment of new markers who have been successful in the marker recruitment
  • opportunity for employment of a number of markers from outside the Victorian metropolitan area
  • employment of a number of current practicing Victorian teachers (marking provides a significant individual professional development opportunity)
  • employment of teachers from as many Victorian schools as possible (schools benefit from their teacher's experience as a marker)
  • individuals who have a relevant and appropriate educational background
  • the applicant's performance in previous marking operations (quality and consistency of marking, pace of marking, receptiveness to receiving feedback, and ability to apply any feedback provided)

What are the selection criteria?

  • Relevant qualifications and experience: the applicant has a relevant teaching degree and experience teaching primary literacy or secondary English.
  • Prior NAPLAN 2008 – 2023 marking: accuracy and speed.
  • Other relevant marking experience.

Markers are chosen by a panel, based on the need to reflect these requirements.

No guarantee can be provided as to whether an applicant will be employed as a marker in any given year.

Offers of appointment are emailed in January. Unsuccessful applicants are also emailed to confirm the status of their applications.

Training

How are markers trained?

In 2024, it is envisaged that the majority of NAPLAN marking training will be delivered remotely via online training modules and online workshops. It is envisaged that this training will take the equivalent of up to two days for experienced markers, three days for new markers. All training is paid at a rate of $58.21 per hour. Information will be provided when it becomes available.

What materials are used to assess NAPLAN writing?

When reviewing writing results, please refer to the appropriate marking guide:

Further information regarding the assessment of writing can be found on the NAP website.

Please note that NAPLAN markers undergo intensive training and supervised marking before gaining competence in the interpretation of marking guide descriptors. The marking guides are provided online for information, but it is recommended that marker training be undertaken or that assistance from trained markers be sought before the guides are used to assess student practice tests in schools.

How are new markers trained?

New markers will be trained in the use of the most current ACARA Writing Marking Guide.

New markers and re-applicant markers who have not marked in 2022 or 2023 are required to participate in new marker training sessions and submit practice scripts post-training.

New applicants must satisfy the following criteria:

  • hold a teaching degree specialising in English
  • show a demonstrated understanding of assessment based on criteria and standards
  • have the ability to apply a prescriptive marking model
  • acquire satisfactory achievement in the marking of student compliance scripts after participating in the new marker training.
  • be available for training and for the duration of the marking operation (approximately five weeks).

How are returning markers trained?

Re-applicant markers, including group leaders and professional leaders, need to apply to mark in 2024 if they are hoping to be appointed again.

Returning markers will have up to two days mandatory training involving an online module, an online workshop and a component of practice marking. This is a compulsory requirement set by ACARA.

All markers will be required to have good computer literacy and must meet the VCAA's minimum IT requirements on their home PCs or personal laptops.

What training will I be required to complete as a marker?

2024 mandatory marker training will include an ACARA online 2024 NAPLAN writing marking course and a component of online training for markers.

Group leaders and professional leaders will also be required to attend role specific training in the lead up to the marking operation.

Specific training dates and requirements will be updated when available.

I cannot attend my specified training. What do I do?

The mandatory training is broken into categories (New and Experienced) and must be successfully completed before you can mark student scripts. If, in the unlikely event, you are unable to attend your specific training session, email Human Resources Unit or call 1800 718 320.

FAQ

What sort of commitment is expected from markers when marking begins?

After training, when the marking period begins, markers will:

  • work under the guidance of a group leader
  • be monitored and kept to national standard
  • mark from home for the duration of the project
  • mark either during the day session (8.30am–4pm) or during the evening session (3.30pm–10pm)
  • be unable to move between sessions, as the group leaders monitor markers in real time
  • be required to mark every session from the start of training until the end of marking, working six days a week.

Where do you mark?

All marking will be done remotely (in your home) for 2024. You will need to ensure you have the minimum technical requirements on your home computer. When marking begins there will be a helpdesk to assist with any platform issues.

All markers will be required to have good computer literacy and must meet the VCAA’s minimum IT requirements on their home PCs or personal laptops.

What are the IT requirements needed at home?

Markers need to supply their own personal computer or laptop with reliable internet connection. 

How many hours a day do you need to mark?

By accepting the role of marker, you are agreeing to a minimum daily commitment of four hours per day if you work the day shift or three hours per evening if you work the evening shift. For marking to remain consistent and accurate we need daily marking from each marker. Whilst marking, you are supported by a group leader who monitors you in real time each shift. While you may miss the odd day over the four-week marking period, it is planned that you will meet the hourly minimum requirement each day.

How long does marking go for?

Marking goes for roughly 35 days, based on all markers contributing their daily minimum commitment.

How many scripts a day are you expected to mark?

It is estimated you will mark between 8-10 scripts an hour when you get comfortable with the marking criteria. Scripts are randomised (Years 3,5,7 and 9) and markers mark all year levels, without knowing which year level they are marking.

The day shift operates from 8.30pm-4pm and the evening shift operates 3.30pm-10pm.

Do you have weekends/public holidays off over the marking operation?

No. The weekend is traditionally a time when a lot of scripts are marked. The marking centre is open 8.30am-5pm. Both day and evening markers are encouraged to mark during this time on the weekends. It can be a time where if you have fallen behind in your daily marking commitment (four hours per day and three hours per eve), you can catch up on some marking.

Public holidays operate as a weekend day with weekend hours. The marking centre will be closed for the Easter break (29 March - 1 April 2024) but open all other weekend days through the marking period.

What is the maximum number of hours/scripts you can mark a shift during the marking operation?

Markers are asked not to mark more than seven hours per shift. NAPLAN writing is currently capped at 80 scripts per shift. This cap can be lifted over the course of the project depending on marker accuracy.

What sort of quality control is in place during the marking?

Markers are monitored by group leaders. All markers are double marked at least 10-15%. Scripts are monitored and algorithms are used to ensure markers stay within national protocols.

What is a group leader and how are they chosen each year?

Each year, there is a need for new group leaders. group leaders are paid at an hourly rate.

The role of group leader is a highly important one in the NAPLAN marking operation. The role of the group leader is to ensure the accuracy of their team of seven or eight markers. To this end the group leader is required to:

  • facilitate the training of their group on training days
  • provide assistance to their group throughout the marking operation
  • backread approximately 10‐20% of their group members' marking
  • retrain group members when required.
  • For further information please see the position statement: Group Leader — NAPLAN position description

Payment and professional development

Payment

Pay for time spent in a training session is based on $58.21 per hour.

When marking begins, markers are paid a rate of $5.35 per script.

Are markers paid for any travel associated with training?

VCAA does pay markers for time spent in training sessions based on the VPS4 hourly rate (see above). The VCAA does not pay for any travel expenses incurred for the marking project.

Does NAPLAN writing marking count as hours for professional development?

The training and marking of student responses contributes to the continuing professional development requirements for teacher registration. For further information please see the VIT website.

Applying to be a marker

How do you apply to be a marker?

Application for markers opens in mid September 2023 and closes in late November 2023.

If you are interested, you can apply on SSMS

For any technical difficulties, email Human Resources Unit or call 1800 718 320.

How do you apply to be a group leader or a professional leader?

All group leaders and professional leader need to be appointed as markers first. Applicants who wish to be considered for the position of group leader or of professional leader, need to select this option when applying to be a marker through SSMS.

Once markers have been appointed, selection of group leader or professional leader roles will take place in January. Previous marking experience is taken into account in the selection process for these roles.

What do I need to logon to SSMS?

If you have an SSMS user account and you know your username and password

  • You can log in to your SSMS user account and complete your application.

If you have an SSMS user account but you have forgotten either or both of your username and/or password

  • Go to the 'forgotten your…' links provided in the 'Log into your account' area. Once you have recovered your username and reset your password, you can log in to your SSMS user account and complete your application.

If you do not have an SSMS user account then you can apply as a new applicant

  • Go to the 'Don't have an account' area and click on the 'new applicants' link. This will take you to the application process.

Where do you go if you need more information?

For any technical difficulties, email Human Resources Unit or call 1800 718 320.

For NAPLAN queries, email VCAA NAPLAN Helpdesk or call 1800 648 637.

Do I have to be a registered teacher?

No. You do need a teaching degree specialising in English and have either a VIT (Victorian Institute of Teaching) registration or do a NCRHC (National Criminal Records History Check) through the VCAA.

Using SSMS (Seasonal Staff Management System)

Can’t access SSMS?

Please email Human Resources Unit or call 1800 718 320 if you:

  • can’t remember your VCAA ID or password.
  • want to change your marker type/commitment after you have submitted your marker application

If you have changed address/email/telephone number: You can log in to SSMS at any time with your VCAA ID and password and update your details. Please check that your details are correct and up-to-date at all times.

Contact

If you require further assistance or questions, please email the Human Resources Unit.