I've recently had a job where I've read exams and graded them. I'm now going to put this on my CV but I have no idea how I should label this kind of work. What have I been? An examiner?

  • In my experience examiner refers to the person who administers the exam, not the person who grades it. It is mostly used for oral or practical exams where there is direct interaction between the examiner (who asks the questions) and the examinee or test-taker (who answers them). I haven't heard examiner used in the context of written exams at all. Commented Jun 17, 2012 at 23:21

6 Answers 6


A person marking or grading the exam is called a marker or grader. An examiner can refer to such a person, but it can also mean one who sets the questions.

  • Exactly. That's what I suspected. I should probably call myself a grader then. Thanks!
    – Speldosa
    Commented Jun 17, 2012 at 12:00

In American university systems of my acquaintance, we always call them “graders”. Remember though that in America, the action of assigning a grade to a student’s work is called grading. One does not normally speak of assigning a mark, just a grade. So “marker” wouldn’t be used this side of the atlantic.

I’ve at times been a grader myself, even though I was not the professor nor the TA (teacher’s assistant) for that particular course. This tended to happen towards the end of the term when there was more material needing grading than they were staffed up to handle. This was for undergraduate courses in computer programming.

Also, even though we always assigned numeric scores between 0–100, we still called them graders, never *scorers. Exactly how a particular numeric score mapped to a letter grade depended on the university, the course, and sometimes also on the thing being graded.

  • 3
    Careful about your generalizations about sides of the Atlantic: my experience (secondhand) is that mark is the standard word in Canada. (But grade is definitely correct for the US.) Commented Jun 17, 2012 at 23:17

You haven't been an examiner. I'd just go with Exam-marker.

  • "Exam-marker" seems good too.
    – Speldosa
    Commented Jun 17, 2012 at 12:01

Without knowing any more about what you did, or where you did it, you might be able to say that you were a T.A., responsible for grading exams.


Embarrassed to drag up an old thread again, but this is clearly a case where over-reliance on American usage has confused the issue, and I think its worth a note, if it might prevent baseless accusations of national bias.

In the bureaucracy of British education, an examiner is the person who marks or grades the exams, as in the following quote from the website of AQA, an independent exam board for England, Ireland, and Wales:

Examiners can expect to mark between 150-350 scripts

Scripts are the sheets that the students write their answers on. Both the scripts and the examiners' marks are checked by 'moderators'

So who are the people who set the exam (devise the exam questions)? I have found at least one link that calls them 'paper setters' AQA has an elaborate hierarchy of examiners, including senior examiners, chief examiners and principal examiners who put the exam together. However, the examiner per se is a grader, not a setter.

Is that right? Speak up, cousins!


In some situations the grader is called an assessor, particularly something I've heard for practical or vocational assessment rather than marking a paper exam. For example a trainee hairdresser on an apprenticeship must pass a practical exam in which they cut a client's hair and answer oral questions - their grade in that exam would be judged by an "assessor".

In Merriam-Webster the relevant definition is:

a person whose job is to officially say how well someone has done on a test, in a competition, etc.

I note another answer talks about difference between British and American usage. Another British examination board, OCR, uses "assessor" as a catch-all term which includes "examiners" (who mark scripts) and "moderators" (who check that scripts have been marked to a similar standard), as can be seen from the snippet below. This includes written subjects as well as practical ones.

We are constantly recruiting for Examiners and Moderators to ensure we have a full complement of assessors come exam time, so we welcome applications at all times of the year for all subjects. — "OCR for Assessors" (as accessed 16 July 2015)

Here are some examples where "assessor" is used in the context of a practical exam:

An ARTP/BTS national assessor will observe you performing the tests and producing the results (with reference values) for the following procedures:- Peak Expiratory Flow (PEF) - Peak Flow Meter, Relaxed Vital capacity (VC) - Spirometer, Dynamic Spirometry (FEV1, FVC, FEV1/FVC) - Spirometer — describes role of assessor in a "practical and oral exam" in spirometry, from the Association for Respiratory Technology and Physiology and the British Thoracic Society.

This assessment method combines the use of witness testimonies, employer endorsement, practical assessment, professional discussion and questions and answers. It normally involves the learner going to an off-site location to have their practical skills and occupational knowledge assessed. All the practical skills needed to achieve a level 2 competence qualification are usually included in the practical assessment. The practical assessment is observed by a registered assessor. — for the "Experienced Worker Practical Assessment" in the construction industry

Any suitably qualified trainer can carry out the assessments and sign off each task; but only an RSGB Registered Assessor is empowered to sign off the final completion statement. — for amateur radio exams, note how the assessor "signs off" the candidate (this is also the phrase that's used in apprenticeships)

And in the context of written exams, consider this advert for volunteer assessors for an actuarial exam, and note the additional role of the "lead assessor", similar to "chief examiner" in other usages, while the more junior assessor is called the "assistant examiner" (indicating they did the grading but not setting the exam).

The Profession is looking to attract volunteers to help with the CA2 practical exam. This exam covers model documentation, analysis of method and outputs and the reporting of approach, results and conclusions. There are two roles available:

  • Lead assessor, which would involve:- delivering the two-day exam for 20 to 30 students (facilitating with a staff actuary on Day 1 and assisting students during the exam on Day 2), marking the exam assignments (up to 30 scripts per exam; timescale three to four weeks), attending the annual CA2 assessors’ day.

  • CA2 assistant examiner, which will involve:- marking the exam assignments (up to 30 scripts per exam; timescale three to four weeks), attending the annual CA2 assessors’ day

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