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Are you in favour of marking or is it an unnecessary workload burden on teachers?

Discussion in 'Education news' started by TES_Rosaline, Oct 15, 2018.

  1. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    One teacher thinks that a ban on marking is not the only solution to reduce teachers’ workload, but there are different methods that can make the assessment process easier and more effective:

    ‘But at our school, we still mark every book, every lesson… In my setting, up until this year, marking a set of books used to take longer than the actual lesson. It became routine for me and, eventually, I noticed that I was always fighting the clock to get marking finished and therefore I was not actually assessing the work in the most effective way.

    Obviously, something needed to change, but a ban on marking should not be the only solution for those in our situation.

    We believe that assessment for learning should happen during and after every lesson. It should inform where we go next and be integral to our long-term planning, too.

    And if we are asking children to complete work and then not bothering to read that work, what sort of message are we sending out? If we can’t be bothered to read each piece of work, then why should they bother to put the effort into each piece of work?...We had to find a way of doing this that is manageable, proportional and has an impact. ’

    Stevie Devlin is a Teaching for Mastery Lead and NCETM Mastery Specialist and Maths Leader, Key Stage Two Leader and SLT at Bursted Wood Primary school in London


    What are your views about marking? Do you see it as a tedious task or is it a useful assessment tool for teachers? How long do you spend on marking per week? Do you have an effective marking system in your school? Has it made a difference to your workload? Do you think marking is beneficial for pupils? Would you support a ban on marking? If yes/no, why?

    https://www.tes.com/news/why-we-still-mark-every-book-every-lesson
     
  2. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    I see it as useful, but the whole rigmerole of constantly changing marking policies that have to be adhered to in every respect, colours, catch phrases, etc is a waste of time.

    i particularly hate having to record " verbal feedback given" in the book of every child I speak to in class
     
  3. David Getling

    David Getling Lead commenter

    When I was working in New Zealand marking maths homework was regarded as a quaint English eccentricity. As my head of maths said to me: why would you mark when the answers are in the back of the textbook. Of course, this didn't mean that one didn't do a quick walk round the classroom to check that the homework had been done, or take the exercise books in every couple of weeks to have a closer look.

    However, I do remember one English old biddy whose shocked reaction to this was: but if they have the answers they will cheat! I took great pleasure in an eleven year old girl telling her: if you cheat, then you are only cheating yourself.

    But this is England, where ignoring any better practices in other countries is what's expected.
     
    agathamorse and woollani like this.
  4. ZanyInsany

    ZanyInsany New commenter

    This whole issue of regimented marking is ridiculous. As a well trained, very experienced teacher who takes my responsibilities very seriously, I truly object to having to mark to a policy. Where is the confidence in my abilities to act in the best interest of my pupils? I am the person who knows my class best. I am the person who knows the individuals in my class best. Therefore I am in the best position to understand what they need from my marking. I should be trusted to address individual learning needs as appropriate, not by rigidly sticking to a policy. One size does not fit all, so why is it assumed that a single marking policy will give the pupils what they need to progress / improve? Either I understand how to mark in a pro-active, progressive way or I don't. If I demonstrate that my marking does this, that should be good enough. If I can't demonstrate that my marking does this, then invest in me and provide CPD to improve this aspect of my job. A catch all marking policy is just lazy - it says that the SLT don't / can't / won't accept good practice for what it is, accepting that different teachers have different styles. As long as it has a (demonstrable) positive impact on the pupils, it shouldn't matter what it looks like.
     
  5. Bobbbs

    Bobbbs Occasional commenter

    Marking books is pointless. It's an English quirk. No other nation does it. We mark tests, and students do corrections for homework.

    Marking books is the sign of an incompetent education system.
     
    agathamorse, drek, lardylegs and 3 others like this.
  6. hammie

    hammie Lead commenter

    Only worth marking if the pupils read it and learn from it.
    In my very first year a long time ago I taught a set 2 Canadian 16 year old.
    I was surprised by the state of his class book. He informed me that at home teachers only marked homework and tests. If a pupil could not read their class "notebook" that was their problem not the teacher's.
    He got a B for Maths GCSE. His responsibility in his eyes and he did the work he needed to get a decent grade.
     
    agathamorse likes this.
  7. PeterQuint

    PeterQuint Lead commenter

    A waste of time for most of the time. Let's think it through for a second.

    If all secondary books were marked every lesson, then every pupil would have to digest and amend their writing style 5 times a day, 5 days a week. That's on top of all the content they learn. I simply don't believe that's possible.

    Leaving aside a pupil's inability to do that, let's imagine for a second that they actually could manage that. If any student I ever taught could improve that regularly, I could take a student of any ability, no matter how weak, in Year 7 and have them up to GCSE grade 9 before the start of Year 10. If improvements were at a small enough increment for that to not happen, the improvement would not be measurable.

    Which all begs the question, if we're not marking for pupils to improve, what the hell are we doing it for?

    End of unit tests, once a half term.
     
  8. install

    install Star commenter

    All marking to be done by paid external markers. Teachers have enough to do..:cool:
     
    woollani likes this.
  9. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    I agree absolutely with the OP! Marking tests, and other assessments, has some value; marking as the fetishistic ritual it has become has a counterproductive waste of time. Students do not understand all the multi-coloured scrawling's with which we have been forced to cover their books and take no notice of it.
     
    drek and lardylegs like this.
  10. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Star commenter

    Most of it is completely useless to both yourself and the student.

    For the teacher, it is a soul-destroying Sisyphean task that is probably one of the biggest causes of the teacher shortage.

    Sure marking exams, mocks etc is formative and useful for all involved but not the routine endless bookmarking for the sake of it.
     
    agathamorse likes this.
  11. maggie m

    maggie m Lead commenter

    Tests fine, books waste of time. We are currently using big multi couloured stickers to give feedback. I give this until xmas, we ran out of stickers 2 weeks into term so now its big multi colured bits of paper that have to be glued in. Utterly useless. Yesterday a year 10 pupil declared I hadn't marked her book despite said sticker and screaming pink pen
     
    agathamorse likes this.
  12. Oldfashioned

    Oldfashioned Senior commenter

    Massive waste of time. Assessments and the odd significant piece is all that's needed.
     
    agathamorse likes this.
  13. Christopher  Curtis

    Christopher Curtis Occasional commenter

    I am in favour of marking for a reason. I am not in favour of marking because policy says that every word should be marked every day or every week.


    As for books, why have them? I began teaching in 1974. Looseleaf and folders had already been invented and were used as a matter of course. Surely secondary students have not lost the ability to keep things in folders and hand up just what the teacher needs to assess
     
    agathamorse likes this.

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