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How to track marking

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Bonnie23, Aug 31, 2018.

  1. Bonnie23

    Bonnie23 Occasional commenter


    This year I have 19 different teaching groups each week (we don't rotate). This is the most groups I've had and we have a two week marking policy. We're also having a new policy where during marking scrutinies they can come in and pick out any books they want at any point (hooray).

    I have no idea how they expect me to magically get through this marking however I was looking at ways to track the marking so no groups slip through. I was thinking of something I can just slot into my planner so I can tick it off when I'm done but thought I would see what other people do before inventing anything.

    I was also wondering what people use to speed marking up. I'm going to have to mark at least two groups a night to keep up to date with marking. I was thinking of marking grids or some kind of criteria I can just tick when they've met it?

    Thank you
    B x
  2. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    Have you considered getting a third hand,
    rehaank, tall tales, pepper5 and 5 others like this.
  3. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    Three sets of books a day - every day - for a year

    Piece of cake.
    tall tales, pepper5 and sbkrobson like this.
  4. meggyd

    meggyd Lead commenter

    What do you teach?
    pepper5 likes this.
  5. 50sman

    50sman Lead commenter

    Don’t even attempt it!

    It’s SLTs time table

    Let them mark it!
  6. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Do not set any work that needs to be marked except peer-to-peer.
    Get students to fill in their own mark sheets (hard copy on paper) and hand them to you as they leave.
  7. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    Set less written work?;)
  8. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    Write out ten constructive comments which constitute a full range of teacher feedback. Number them.
    You could do the same for targets or omissions, or WWW's-whatever your school's marking policy requires.

    Print out this list for every student you teach (you can fit maybe 8 of them on one sheet of A4)
    Have the kids stick the comment sheet in their front cover.
    When marking, use only the numbers from the comment sheet.
    Mark fast. Don't overthink. Wine helps.
    Start your lessons by having the kids look up what the number means in the front of their book, and writing in the appropriate comment. Make sure they write TEACHER ASSESSMENT above it, and big chunky arrows pointing to those words.

    This method will add the value to your life of three regular soap operas, a fun and communicative relationship with partner and kids, a clean and tidy house, and four or five monthly pub quiz nights.
    Lalad, tall tales, Laphroig and 5 others like this.
  9. meggyd

    meggyd Lead commenter

    If you have 19 groups how often do you see them? If you see a group three times a week then marking every fortnight is reasonable but not if you only see them once a fortnight. Can you negotiate a different schedule? Marking every third lesson or so?
  10. NQT08

    NQT08 Occasional commenter

    As a primary teacher, I don't understand the 2 weeks to mark books complaints from secondary school teachers.
    I'm sure there is a reason that isn't obvious to me but why not just mark at dinner / the end of day and be on top of marking every day?
    Again, I'm sure there is a very good reason but without being in a secondary setting it's not clear to me.
    george1963 and Pomza like this.
  11. Bonnie23

    Bonnie23 Occasional commenter

    Thank you for your comments so far.

    I teach Design and Technology. I will have two year 11 groups, a year 13 and share a year 12 which obviously their marking is a higher priority and all the other groups are Year 10 downwards.

    I see most of my groups once a week. I'm also wondering how I can track feedback when we're doing practical work.

    The reason is I see 19 different groups each week with an average of 28 students in each group even if I marked through my lunchtime which is 30 minutes I wouldn't even get through one group.

    I really like this idea thank you!
    pepper5 and agathamorse like this.
  12. meggyd

    meggyd Lead commenter

    Because they take their books home for hw or they need to revise. Because they write so much more than primary school kids. Because the marking grids for exam questions take a long time to wade through and a piece of work can take a long time!
  13. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Surely to goodness there is very little marking from most DT lessons? A sentence or two at most...and then not every week.

    In terms of tracking practical work, what does your school ask? I wouldn't track it all, personally, but I know many schools care about such things more than me.
    pepper5, agathamorse and Pomza like this.
  14. rachelsays

    rachelsays New commenter

    Forgive me my ignorance, but what on earth have you actually got to mark after a practical DT lesson? Surely what you mark is their practical work at the end of the unit?

    I'm an English teacher so I know all about marking and how onerous it can be, but I don't see how you can possibly have that much to mark after a DT lesson.

    Who has set this two week marking policy? Is it a dept policy or a whole school policy? If a whole school policy then it should be differentiated by dept - yes fair enough books should be looked at every two weeks if, like a core subject, you see classes every day, but if you're only going to see them once per week, marking the books every two weeks after only having taught each class two lessons is completely unnecessary. Are you sure you've understood this policy correctly?
  15. Bonnie23

    Bonnie23 Occasional commenter


    We cover a lot more than just practical work. We have different analysis' that goes on for many different products, specification, evaluations, drawing techniques with questions linked to the techniques etc, materials research and so on.

    It's a whole school policy, I've already questioned it previously and it's to be done every 6 lessons (for core subjects) or every two weeks for others.

    It was also raised after a scrutiny how students are getting feedback when practical lessons are in motion and how that feedback can proved to have happened.

    In terms of Year 10+ their work is more written content and less practical - I would say 80% written 20% practical.

    I'm also teaching health, sexual and personal development to four different year groups; which for me is definitely a lower priority in terms of marking.
  16. rachelsays

    rachelsays New commenter

    I see. I apologise for not understanding how your subject works - things have certainly changed since I did DT at school!

    In my last school, to cope with this kind of marking policy that was becoming unsustainable, we came up with a marking grid that had the key skills on it. We then simply ticked the key skills that had been met and highlighted the skills that hadn't so that students could see clearly what they had and hadn't achieved. We'd then make a quick evaluative comment underneath that summed up the key skills - 'your use of figurative language is fantastic but next time you need to use paragraphs properly, remembering to start a new one every time you change idea or topic', etc. The kids then stuck the grids in - you don't even need to do the sticking!

    We also only chose one piece of work to mark within the two week period - we didn't mark everything because it wasn't necessary. Choose the piece of writing that most needs to be commented on in order to enable progress and just mark that.

    Ticking a few boxes and writing one sentence for one piece of work in each book should make things much more sustainable for you.
  17. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    btw the bit in the opening post describing a "new two weekly marking policy" and the bit about unannounced book scrutinies-together they make a nasty grinding sound to me of somebody at the top sharpening their Capability Stick.
    Why else do this when we are already in the thick of such rubbish being formally discredited?
    agathamorse and drek like this.
  18. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Phil Beadle's essay, "The Importance of Marking", is brilliant and based on a lot of experience, as well as common sense. Yes, thoroughly and thoughtfully marking your students' work really is time-consuming and maybe it is not what you want to do in the evening or at the weekend.

    sbkrobson, are you suggesting that taking the time and the trouble to mark your students' work is "rubbish"? Or that book scrutinies (announced or unannounced) are "rubbish"? Or that this new two weekly marking policy is "rubbish"? Or are you suggesting that the SLT's way of doing things is "rubbish"? Or all of these things?

    rachelsays has come up with some helpful and positive advice. I have tried the things that she is suggesting and they really work. (My wonderful assistant stuck the bits of paper into their books, so that the students did not need to do it.) The only thing that I would add to rachelsays's wise words is to say that marking should not just be a ritual, a thing that teachers do because that is what teachers always do. It could (and should) be a powerful way to get your students to take control of their own learning, see what they are getting right, see what they are getting wrong and then come up with some positive ways in which they can improve both the content and the presentation of their written work.

    Not so long ago, a friend of mine (he teaches Science) came to stay for a few days. We went to collect some things from my classrtoom and while we were in the school, he happened to see one student's old Science exercise book. (Perhaps I should add that my friend is one of the old school, so marks all of his students' work very thoroughly.) Anyway, my friend picked up the exercise book and looked through it. There was one tick on the first page, but otherwise there was nothing in the whole book. No grades, no corrections, no comments, no suggestions for improvement, no nothing. The Science teacher who was supposed to have marked the book is, of course, an OFSTED Science inspector.
    hhhh and agathamorse like this.
  19. drek

    drek Star commenter

    .in view of highly publicised articles by both the dfe and Ofsted regarding over marking policies that are one of the main causes of stress and workload not to mention unfair regulation.
    The chance of teachers with the busiest time tables and highest student ratios per week, being scrutinised more often is most definitely much higher..... linked stress levels are also bound to be higher. (The same when Ofsted are in).......
    teachers teaching the least amount of students and hours a week should really not be allowed anywhere near a marking policy........... or any other that makes life impossible for those doing the bulk of the actual teaching work in education.
    Leadership courses should include one entitled:
    How to apply policies fairly across the board........
    OP if you see them twice a fortnight then do you think you could use part of one lesson to get each student to fill out a www ebi proforma either for themselves or each other using a different coloured pen to work being reflected on.
    Verbally feedback/Sign it as you go round the room during the lesson. Students to glue in books. As wiser ones than me have stated..... Get the students to use highlighters and very very obvious headings... e.g. Correction/Review work. We have no support assistants due to pay and shortage....
    Our school saved us hours of wasted time by coming up with something similar for the whole school.
    It left me more time to hunt up/make up differentiated plans / resources for the very very large number of SEND students without any support staff available as per usual.
    In a previous school I was literally worked nearly to death.
    Weekly Scrutinised plans for differentiation, weekly scrutinised books, climate walks, learning walks, ominous trainee leadership drop ins.......everyone left within two years........
    What did a sanctimonious charity exec publicise this week?....
    we teachers should be able to teach, stretch and challenge all students whilst being kicked; sworn and spat at by some students so that one and all don't miss out on the wonderful 'mainstream' experience........at least that Is my understanding of any ruling that states being at the receiving end of abuse and violence for extended periods of time, is 'just part of the job' when inflicted by anyone under the age of 16........particularly if they have a special need.
    It is the receiver that must carry on being punished......
    good luck and cheerio.
    Look up the dfe marking guidance and stick it up in appropriate places.......it may help.....
  20. -myrtille-

    -myrtille- Occasional commenter

    I tend to have a list (electronic) of all my classes that cycles round repeatedly. I never manage to stick to the marking policy in terms of frequency. Because it's ridiculous. But because I usually stick to my running order, at least no groups get missed.

    If they're meant to be marked fortnightly and it ends up being 3-4 weeks instead, I don't think most people notice or care - because it's still obvious that I'm looking at books regularly (every 3 weeks would mean marking 3 sets of books per week as I have 9 groups) and giving feedback. Whereas I've known colleagues who don't have such a list, suddenly realising that a particular group's books haven't been marked for 2 months

    I would also suggest thinking about how you use assessments. If a test can be done in a format that can be stuck in their books with their assessment feedback, you stick that in and that's their feedback for that month. If the exam paper is too large to stick in (or it's a practical piece of work) design a feedback sheet (I print mine on green to stand out as assessment in their books) and tick/highlight what they have achieved/targets and get pupils to stick it in.

    This year our aim as a department is to be very deliberate about what does and does not go into pupils' books:
    • Practice activities (where the point is DOING the activity, not recording it) can be done on mini-whiteboards where pupils can hold their answers up and we can give instant feedback to the whole class.
    • Spelling tests will be done on scrap paper, then after peer marking pupils will just write in their book "Homework test - 16/20" and the scrap paper can be binned.
    • Activities with a right or wrong answer may be done in books, but will be self or peer assessed, with the pupils ticking/crossing and writing a total score.
    • Every couple of lessons I will get pupils to apply their learning to a longer writing task and produce a paragraph, and that's what I'll be collecting to mark. I'm going to try to mark more frequently, by only marking 1 piece of work and getting pupils to hand their books in open at that page, so potentially I could sometimes bomb through the whole class in half an hour at the end of the day and give them back the next lesson when it's fresh in their minds.

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