Recently I finished a set of tasting exams and while I once was a very active grader I am currently not as active only grading a set or two every year. The main reason I took a step back was due to the time commitment and luckily that time requirement has been shortened a great deal. The RTP (Report To Participant) is now much easier to fill out and does not require the notes and typing as in the past. I thought I would offer some tips for graders which they may find useful as they grade.

To start with the files are now all electronic. At first I thought that would be an issue, but as it turns out I did not need to print the exams in order to grade them. I used Acrobat to view and kept a sheet of paper for each examinee handy to make notes for each of the six beers. In fact that is how I always start, I print six copies of the Beer Checklist and fill one out using the Proctor sheets for each beer. That generally only takes a few minutes to mark the levels and some notes and typically I no longer need to keep the Proctor sheets handy since I have a master score sheet at the ready. I do each beer one at a time so after I make the master for Beer 1 I then grade that beer for the first exam through the last exam. I use the EGF (Exam Grading Form) to put in my scores for the examinees. The values are 0 through 20 and it is important to remember these ranges:
12-14 = Recognized
14-16 = Certified
16-18 = National
18-20 = Master
I suggest the value should be as precise as possible, but if you want to keep it simple you can do whole numbers and then 0.5 for in between values. So if I thought the person was better than Recognized for an attribute, but not quite mid-range Recognized I would go 12.5 which would equal 62.5. Often new graders loose sight of those values and score too low. I’ve seen people handing out 8’s and 10’s and I have to point out to them anything below 12 is failure, was it really only a 40 out of 100 and often they move their value up to an 11 or so. The grader guide provides the clues for the five areas tester so I’m not going to spend much time this morning discussing them, but they are Scoring Accuracy (which is generally not something the graders control), Perceptive Accuracy, Descriptive Ability, Feedback, and Completeness.

Another thing I suggest graders do is keep handy the new RTP with the checkboxes and as they grade make note of anything which needs to be ticked on the RTP. If you do that you should not have to go back after you reach consensus on the exam and review all the score sheets. By the time you are a lead grader you will have reviewed several sets and I believe you will find you can grade the set in less than 1 hour per examiness including time for the RTP. That is a huge improvement over the old way where it would take at least 3 hours per examinee and until you became proficient it might take 5 hours per exam.

I think the next time I grade I will assign the tick boxes to the second grader and that way two sets of eyes will have decided what to mark and not mark before the set is passed up with ladder to the AEDs and EDs. I’m pleased we are now scanning the documents and sending them electronically. When all was said and done for the most recent set I had printed six checklist score sheets and had used twelve pieces of notebook paper in order to grade. The old way would have required four people to receive a stack of photocopies and then more paper to grade. We’ve come a long way baby!