Make your 'Marking Policy' a 'Feedback Policy' Marking workload getting on top of you? Many schools, and departments, have been reflecting about their marking policies ever since OFSTED declared more than a healthy interest in scrutinising books. Progress over time has rightly been identified as more important than single lesson snap shots – of course, that evidence if best found in ongoing student work and the attendant formative assessments. This has combined with greater scrutiny of standards of literacy, particularly writing. I have no problem with this; as you would expect from an English teacher. Firstly, I think it is important to understand the OFSTED context, so I can then move beyond it to the more important context: the pedagogy and the learning. “A basic way of reviewing pupils’ work is to select an extended piece of writing from near the beginning of a pupil’s book (or folder of work). A wealth of great research and evidence has lauded the impact of feedback and of assessment for learning strategies for decades.
Using DIRT as a Learning Journey Education is full of acronyms. Some are useless, whilst others are impressive and useful. One such acronym which keeps popping up in the #UKEdChat community is DIRT, which stands for ‘Dedicated Improvement and Reflection Time‘, mainly aimed at secondary aged pupils (11+), although some aspects are already embedded within primary practice. In her book, Jackie Beere reminds how important the process of DIRT is: This is properly trained peer assessment or self-assessment where students measure their progress against the original objective in mini plenaries and think about how they have learned – what worked and what didn’t. Mainly used by Secondary School English teachers, David Didau (@LearningSpy) and Alex Quigley (@HuntingEnglish) have shared how the process is used in their classrooms, at their blogs here & here, but the potential of using a DIRT framework is possible in other curriculum subject, using the following Assessment for Learning tips: Dialogue – Talking to students is key.
Marking For The Masses And Feedback For The Future Students have a Google account set up via the school as they are under 13. Older students can use their own Google login if they have one. The students leave Edmodo up on one tab and open another tab. Once the time is up for the task, students shut down the tab with Googe Drove on it - knowing that the document automatically saves so no fear of losing the work. Step 4 - Marking and Feedback: All the completed pieces of work are now available for you to view and mark from within Edmodo. Step 5 - Moving Forward and making Improvements - The Blog / E-Portfolio Students then close down Edmodo. It is early days but the signs of success are glimmering on the horizon.
Belmont Teach | …our directory of excellence Marking is an act of love UPDATE: After a lot of thought and reading, I’m no long convinced that marking is anywhere near as important or useful as it’s often claimed. In fact, much of it is a complete waste of time. In this post I explore the difference between marking and feedback and here I suggest that less marking might mean more feedback. October 2015 Have you ever flicked back through an exercise book and seen the same repeated comments followed with soul numbing certainty by the same repeated mistakes? There are few things more crushing to the spirit of hardworking teachers than this dramatically enacted evidence of the fact that, apparently, 70% of all feedback given by teachers to pupils falls on stony soil. I’ve always felt guilty about marking. I guess if you’re marking like I used to, then it’s easy to feel like this. The big difference is DIRT. At Clevedon School, this has been formalised into Triple Impact Marking: and Joe Kirby has also written about how using symbols can save precious time.
Marking Matters Like most teachers in the autumn term, I have set myself a few targets, some of them to do with marking. I’m going to make sure that I mark student work regularly, make it useful and get students to do something with it. In search of a bit of inspiration, I read two great blogs on this subject over the weekend. The second blog was by Mary Myatt (@MaryMyatt). “When it comes to giving feedback, reasons should always be given for the comment. So, these two articles made me reflect on a flow diagram that we have used at DHS to describe ‘effective feedback through marking’. Download a copy here. The key points from it are: Select the work that you are going to mark in detail carefully – make sure it is something that students have had to think about and produce themselves e.g. a paragraph of writing that describes and explains something. I’ve been doing DIRT with my Y10 and Y11 and they engage with it really well. Like this: Like Loading...
How I cope with marking | ChocoTzar Marking kills teachers. I don’t know anyone that looks at a massive pile of books and thinks way-hey! However, right from the start of my career, when I was a very naive English NQT, I had to find a way of coping. Back then I had no say in what the marking policy looked like; to be honest, I don’t think there was a policy, just a vague hope that teachers would turn up and no one would get thrown out of the window. These days I do have a say, I have the ultimate say, and as I still teach myself it has to be something I can practice alongside all my other responsibilities. Our marking policy is now a feedback policy, and it has to keep all sorts of people happy: students, parents, Governors, Ofsted, HMI, and even staff. Firstly, I have a deal that school work happens at work. Try and mark everything really quickly and rigorously in the first half term. Marking is not an admin task. Therefore comments have to be constructive and helpful. I don’t correct all literacy errors. Like this:
Work scrutiny – What’s the point of marking books Marking is an act of lovePhil Beadle If you’ve never taken part in a whole school book scrutiny, I’d recommend it. Seeing how students treat their exercise books across different subjects is very revealing. Just for a moment, let’s assume we all understand and agree that giving quality feedback to students is the most important thing teachers can do (click here for more on this.) Phil Beadle, in typically provocative style, puts it like this: You can turn up hungover every morning, wearing the same creased pair of Farahs as last week, with hair that looks like a bird has slept in it, then spend most of the lesson talking at kids about how wonderful your are; but mark their books with dedication and rigour and your class will fly.How To Teach Not only does this make me feel slightly better about my weakness for Pinot Noir, it also confirms what I’ve long believed: the more often I mark their books, the more effort they will put into their work. To avoid this: We have this: 1. 2. Like this:
Getting feedback right Part 1 – Why do we give it It’s become a truism that feedback is the most important activity that teachers engage in. Feedback, we are repeatedly told, is tremendously powerful and therefore teachers must do more of it. Certainly Hattie, the Sutton Trust and the EEF bandy about impressive effect sizes, but the evidence of flipping through a pupil’s exercise book suggests that the vast majority of what teachers write is ignored or misunderstood. Teachers’ feedback can certainly have a huge impact but it’s a mistake to believe that this impact is always positive. The point he makes is that teachers’ feedback often has unintended consequences; if we’re not careful, it may have the exact opposite result to what we intended. To provide clarity – most mistakes are made because pupils are unclear on precisely what they should be doing. If we understood which of these purpose we were engaged in, our feedback might be a lot more useful and a lot more likely to produced the desired results. Like this: Like Loading...
5. How can I mark books without burning out? | Back to the Whiteboard Appetising stuff? Use icons to set targets, save time and help them improve. Imagine you have five classes of thirty students, who you teach three times a week. Marking their books is the bane of every English teacher’s life. One simple solution helps: use icons to set targets. Most marking is high effort, low impact. The problem with this for students is that it doesn’t help them improve. Instead, what would maximum impact, minimum effort marking look like? Don’t write out comments. Instead, get them to write them out. Simple. Like this: Like Loading... The Myth of Progress Within Lessons My heckles are risen so I need to post this and post it quick. Let me nail my colours to the mast here and make a bold, unequivocal statement: There is no such thing as progress within lessons. There is only learning. And let me make a second, equally bold and unequivocal statement to back it up: The main perpetuators of the myth of ‘progress within lessons’ are leadership teams within schools, not Ofsted. Right, now that we all know where we are let me explain further, and let me start with my evidence that it is NOT Ofsted asking for the mythical ‘progress within lessons’ by picking out some key quotes from the Inspection Handbook rewritten as recently as December 2012. “The most important role of teaching is to promote learning and to raise pupils’ achievement.” Nothing any of us wouldn’t agree with in that and no sign of the phrase ‘progress in lessons’ either. “The judgement on the quality of teaching must take account of evidence of pupils’ learning and progress over time. Wrong.