Guidance about how to become a marker for the key stage 2 (KS2) English, mathematics and science national curriculum tests (commonly referred to as SATs).

English and mathematics tests

Criteria for becoming a marker for English or mathematics

Markers for the 2021 national curriculum tests are recruited by Capita, the Standards and Testing Agency’s external supplier. Capita is working with the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) who are leading on delivering KS2 marking.

There are 3 types of markers—regular, specialist and braille.

Regular markers must either be:

  • an undergraduate, undertaking the final year of a recognised course in primary school teaching
  • a graduate, undertaking a recognised postgraduate course in primary school teaching or a postgraduate teacher training programme in secondary school teaching, specialising in either mathematics or English
  • a primary school teacher
  • a secondary school teacher, specialising in either mathematics or English

Regular markers are required to use professional judgement but are not required to interpret pupil responses and the mark scheme.

Specialist markers must have either:

  • qualified teacher status with a minimum of one full academic year’s teaching (preferably at primary school)
  • marked national curriculum tests in the last 5 years

Specialist markers are required to use professional judgement to interpret pupil responses and the mark scheme.

Braille markers must meet the specialist marker criteria above and must have a relevant qualification in Unified English Braille (UEB).

All markers will need to be able to work accurately at speed and demonstrate a positive approach to pupils’ work.

Apply to be a marker

Previous KS2 markers are now being invited to apply for roles for the 2021 test cycle.

New applicants are now able to register their interest in applying for a regular, specialist or braille marker role.

If you are interested in applying for a marker role, please visit, where you will be able to access role profiles, read the employment criteria and register your interest to mark.

Marker training

Approved applicants will receive full training on the marking process and how to apply the mark scheme accurately. This will include online training and ongoing support from a marking supervisor.

The mark scheme training meeting will take place online during a weekend in May, shortly after pupils take the tests. This meeting will ensure approved applicants understand the marking procedures. It will also introduce them to the support network available throughout the process.

After the training meeting, approved applicants will demonstrate their ability to mark accurately and consistently by marking a set of practice scripts. They will also mark qualification scripts to demonstrate that they can accurately apply the mark scheme before being approved to mark.

Marking the tests

If successful, approved applicants will start marking test scripts after completing their training and qualification scripts in May. They will usually complete their marking within 3 weeks. Marking accuracy will be assessed throughout the marking period to ensure that all markers are marking to the agreed standard.

Science sampling tests

The next science sampling tests will take place in June 2022. The application process for the recruitment of coders will be updated in autumn 2021.

Published 3 April 2014
Last updated 12 October 2020 + show all updates

  1. Updated for the 2021 marker recruitment activity.

  2. Science sampling test section amended to reflect email to coders (markers) to apply to code the 2020 science sampling tests.

  3. Updated for the 2019/2020 test cycle.

  4. Updated for the 2018 to 2019 test cycle.

  5. Changed to reflect the completion of marker recruitment for the 2018 tests.

  6. Changed to reflect the completion or marker recruitment for the 2018 science sampling tests.

  7. Updated for the 2017 to 2018 test cycle.

  8. Dates amended to reflect current marker recruitment opportunities.

  9. The reference to assessing the accuracy of marking (penultimate paragraph) has been amended from ‘…two more times during the marking period…’ to ‘…throughout the marking period…’.

  10. First published.