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How/how often do you mark maths?

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by LoopyLew, Sep 2, 2016.

  1. LoopyLew

    LoopyLew New commenter

    Our school has a policy where you are required to mark books once a week, leaving detailed feedback and action for the student to take to improve every other time.

    I often find myself getting bogged down as the term goes on with this. I am aware that if I disciplined myself better when I felt ill or shattered, I probably wouldn't... (!) I can't seem to justify "wasting time" by getting them to mark their own/peer mark in class, particularly as each group is required to work at three different levels (differentiation) which invariably leads to three different groups of questions being done, which means if I read out answers only a third of the class are participating. (This sounds really silly, actually, as I type it!) Does anyone else differentiate any other way in maths?

    I was wondering - does anybody mark books after every lesson, when there is very little to do, or do you wait a week and mark say 3 lessons together? I'm trying to decide which is more efficient?!

    Any help/advice/suggestions as to how I can keep sane with the marking/differentiation would be greatly appreciated.
  2. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I read out answers and pupils mark their own. Every single time.
    Those who haven't done the work being marked carry on with their task.
    Once they have marked their work, then can do corrections or continue while everyone else marks.

    No way do I sit at a desk after school ticking and crossing.

    Not sure that feedback to act on every fortnight is worth it, mostly maths has moved on by then.
    brighton56 and LoopyLew like this.
  3. bevdex

    bevdex Star commenter

    Every single day. And English, and either science, history or geography. Homework in English and maths once a week too.
  4. First Snowdrop

    First Snowdrop New commenter

    Ditto :(
    bevdex likes this.
  5. Maths_Shed

    Maths_Shed Occasional commenter

    I'm guessing you are primary as work scrutiny in secondary and primary are very different? If only to demonstrate, supply in secondary are not expected to mark the work done that day and leave at the end of the school day. In primary all work that day is marked before leaving.

    In answer to the OP, I ensure all pupils have answers to the work done by reading them out. Make sure they know that getting them wrong is not a problem but doing nothing about it is.
    LoopyLew likes this.
  6. hammie

    hammie Lead commenter

    allowing the time to mark and do corrections is so important. One of the only good reasons for lessons as long as an hour in my opinion. One thing that I find really helpful is to spend as much of each lesson wandering the room marking bits and pieces in as many books as poss. It is such a treat to open a book when marking at night and find you've already marked most of it!
    ldnsenco and LoopyLew like this.
  7. Maths_Shed

    Maths_Shed Occasional commenter

    Try make sure you have a stamp in your hand indicating verbal feedback has been given, it's a massive timesaver.
  8. googolplex

    googolplex Occasional commenter

    Now I don't mean this as criticism of Maths_Shed but...
    There are many daft ideas slopping around in the educational sewer and this one has been fashionable for some time but has anyone questioned the point of it? So, you stamp the book - 'verbal feedback given'. Who's this for? Inspectors? They've said they don't want/need to see this. SLT? They'll want to talk to the students about this feedback. Students? Well, we can be certain, even if they did receive the feedback that they've forgotten what it was. For the teacher? Well, it may make the teacher feel good that they've given such feedback or, due to some ill-informed school policy, this may be one of the things that they have to do to keep their bosses happy, but....:mad:
    To get to the bottom of a good feedback policy, I would always ask what it's got to do with helping the student make progress. What it shouldn't be about is ticking boxes to cover one's back. I would fight tooth and nail any school policy which sought to introduce a verbal feedback stamp. We give verbal feedback all day long, many times each lesson. If we weren't, we're surely not doing the job we're paid to do. The day I have to account for my verbal feedback is the day to hand over the classroom to someone else...
  9. Maths_Shed

    Maths_Shed Occasional commenter

    Totally agree with you. It is ludicrous and probably counter-productive if you are taking time from a lesson to dole them out but if you can stick twenty of those in a class set each lesson then that's a whole load of time marking each day.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  10. LoopyLew

    LoopyLew New commenter

    You are a primary teacher yes? I'm secondary - all I ever teach is Maths, but to 6 different groups.

    I'm getting the impression that I SHOULD be reading out answers... even when the kids mark, we are still meant to check this and write something to say we've seen it.

    I suppose the answer is to try and mark everyday and see what happens... if I just mark one set once a week, I mark about 90 lessons a night. I do about the same if I mark 3 sets for one lesson, just a lot more books! I am just worried I'm going to get behind again... bit of a climate of fear with us at the moment.
  11. Maths_Shed

    Maths_Shed Occasional commenter

    Don't panic and ignore what primary say about marking every day, in secondary it is neither practical nor realistic.

    Do as much as you need to do to get results from the pupils and as little as you need to do to get by the nonsense.
  12. rich_m

    rich_m New commenter

    If it sounds really silly then it is! See what others around you think first, as if you're struggling enough to prompt you to post here, they are probably in a similar position. Then my advice is to speak with your HOD and challenge (constructively) why you need to do these things, school-wide policies are usually either unhelpful or downright wrong for maths.

    Maths is unique, it isn't taught or learnt like other subjects and new initiatives shouldn't be adopted blindly without changing them to suit, or, as in some cases, challenged outright because they aren't suitable. I've had battles with SLT before and will again when it's needed, talk to your HOD and challenge why it's necessary, "it's school policy" isn't good enough for me and shouldn't be for them.

    Adapt what you absolutely have to adopt to make it relevant to maths, but don't jump through every hoop and take every new initiative on board just because someone higher up said you have to. A HOD has a responsibility to protect their department from rubbish from above, along with helping the work-life balance of their staff (and themselves).

    Oh, and I would recommend always having a red pen to add comments/corrections to books as you're walking round in lessons when students are working, which is a real time saver (and yes, marking in green/purple/etc is a policy I've firmed objected to and held out against).
  13. brighton56

    brighton56 Occasional commenter

    Marking needs to be meaningful to the pupils. Do as much that will benefit the pupils but not too much that it becomes excessive to you as a teacher.

    A class teacher of 30 in a primary school would be expected to mark English, Maths, Science and whatever other subjects they have taught that day. That is 90-120 books per day. It is no different to secondary school. The difference is marking coursework and exam papers on top of all your other classes - that's when secondary sucks.
    mathsman and bevdex like this.
  14. Mr_Mathematics

    Mr_Mathematics New commenter

    LoopyLew likes this.
  15. mathsman

    mathsman Occasional commenter

    Marking/feedback is only as useful as the use it is to the learners - and most of mine simply didn't read it but for years I kept banging away doing it anyway.. Some teachers to countless hours of marking each week that is never read simply because that is what is expected from a 'good teacher'. I would argue a better teacher would you self-assessment/peer marking or a rich_m says 'always having a red pen to add comments/corrections to books as you're walking round in lessons'.

    It involves a change of mindset for the teacher but is much more beneficial for the learners and gives you your evenings back - but you have to be a little brave to do it!

    Oh, back to the OP - once every six weeks for their end of term test. I can mark a class of 25 in just over an hour
    mathsmutt and LoopyLew like this.
  16. Miss_Bungle

    Miss_Bungle New commenter

    I'm secondary and make sure answers are given at the end (or part way through) of a lesson. Students mark in green.

    Obviously I check and mark in red some bits as I go around, drawing diagrams or annotating their work as I go (showing that feedback has been given and (hopefully!) acted upon!)

    Students get homework every week but every other week it is a written task which I then am expected to mark and provide 'next steps' for. At the start of their next lesson, they are then expected to perform these 'next steps' using a green pen.
    Lara mfl 05 and LoopyLew like this.
  17. LoopyLew

    LoopyLew New commenter

    Sounds a bit like us.... only we review the whole 2 weeks work then provide next steps. That's a bit time consuming!
  18. Chazette

    Chazette New commenter

    Our school marking policy is once every six lessons so that means every two weeks for all our classes (yes we only have 3 hours of maths a week). I always get the kids to mark answers in lesson (purple pens - school policy) and do corrections (green pens!), then its a case of setting a quick target.
    LoopyLew likes this.
  19. briceanus

    briceanus New commenter

    I wish I could mark this efficiently.
    6 lessons work equates to around 12 - 20 pages of 'answers', possibly more.
    Even if self/peer marked (which in itself, needs checking), these pages then need reviewing to find where things have gone wrong, and necessary corrective actions / next step. Then 2 comments are added, and previous comments are re-addressed to see if pupils have done what was asked. Then an additional consolidation/ stretch question is added. Then 1 book is closed, and the next opened. All within 90 seconds. I hope you don't change pen colours throughout this superhuman effort.
    I am not trying to have a dig, but simply cannot see how this is possible. The blog doesn't really cover HOW the marking is done....what do you do if there is a wrong answer ?
    Bric, wishing I were better.
    LoopyLew likes this.
  20. LoopyLew

    LoopyLew New commenter

    Well... I know THAT feeling!!!!!

    I tried something new this week... got the kids to hand in their books - open at the page they started working at that lesson. I had done self marking in the lesson. Then I marked each book, for every class that day. Some at break, lunch and after school. Meant I was working all day every day - BUT I did a whole set in 10 mins, no finding work, etc. I feel good that all my books are marked up to date all the time and I have no marking to do this weekend. I wonder if this is the way forward for me?

    Feeling happy! :)
    First Snowdrop likes this.

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