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How to track marking

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

  1. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    You’d be surprised.
  2. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    Written feedback is a colossal waste of time. Just have some actual meaningful conversations during lessons instead - just tell them what they need to do better and show them how to accomplish this...

    Just tell your HT I said so and thus your entire feedback policy should be scrapped. I’m sure he’ll be fine about it...
  3. koopatroopa

    koopatroopa Senior commenter

    Presumably you talk to the students and their work improves.
    agathamorse and Pomza like this.
  4. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter


    Should be put in charge nationally. Excellent stuff.
  5. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    agathamorse and Pomza like this.
  6. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    I think the first requirement of any secondary school marking policy is that it should be done by departments and not as a whole school policy. That doesn't mean that HoDs shouldn't have to account for their policy to senior management, but what is appropriate for one subject is not appropriate for another. If what works for your subject is feedback at the end of a six week project, or perhaps at the design and evaluation stages, then you should not be constrained by a requirement to have something in a book in every two week period.

    Departments can come up with different creative ways to reduce working - Myrtille's are great. It would be worth sharing good ideas with other departments (although again, what works in one subject will not always work in another). There's also ways to structure the schemes of work to help manage workload - some topics lend themselves to peer-marking more easily than others, or marking load may be heaviest at the end of a topic - so it helps to try and make sure you don't have more than one year group hitting a heavy-marking point at the same time.
  7. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    My department's policy on marking for the last two years has been to not to do any.
  8. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    Apropos my previous sentiment, that this thread is a precursor to Activate All Capability Antennae, this nugget is key. @-myrtille- writes beautifully of the school which is in a comfortable place. The Head is currently concerned with chugging along knowing that as it stands the staff will bring what is needed to the table to get some ofsted smilies. There's a bit of money in the top drawer, and staffing works.
    The whole point, cynically now, of having a more rigidly enforced marking policy involving random checks and drop ins, as in the opening post, is to catch people out by the book because actually there is no real wrong that they can get them on. Check 'em every two weeks. Don't tell 'em when it's coming. Walk around with a sticker saying "SLACKER TEACHER" ready to slap onto the first one who hasn't marked for two weeks and a day.
    Everybody knows two weekly deep marking is onerous, everybody knows it is unfeasible, everybody knows it is not necessarily effective. And everybody knows that if you want to get somebody in trouble, your starting point is a set of impossible goal posts.
    I'm not saying OP is going to be in trouble. I'm saying that their school is preparing top-down to assert themselves managerially. Let's be honest about this euphemism-it doesn't mean educational management, it means institutional cut backs.
    agathamorse likes this.
  9. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    This is the policy of any school that gets landed with me for for than a week...
    agathamorse and grumpydogwoman like this.
  10. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    If it's any subject other than English I'm wondering why they are doing so much written work!

    If you're writing then you're not learning. Usually. I didn't learn any History by writing. It was all listening to Miss Brown. That's what we did for five years. Listen to Miss Brown. I now know some History and remain interested in it despite having last studied it formally in 1971. Same for most subjects. You should be listening to someone who knows something about it or you could be practising a skill.
    agathamorse likes this.
  11. hammie

    hammie Lead commenter

    the comment about verbal feedback in lessons is very important and the school should have some code for this. Even more important is the fact that marking is only of any use at all if pupils learn from it. Primary tend to mark much more frequently and then insist that pupils respond in writing in some practical way (correcting spellings, inserting an adverb, rewriting a section.....)
    Getting around the room and marking over their shoulder is the best way that I've found, pupils appreciate it, it has an immediate impact on learning and it so nice when you open a book in the pile and find you've pretty much marked it all already
  12. hammie

    hammie Lead commenter

    need a code for this, if you have some over the top inspector type recorded somewhere somehow.
    agathamorse likes this.
  13. Robfreeman

    Robfreeman Occasional commenter

    Its because sometimes your not trusted to teach if you can't prove what you have done.

    I got some management advice once because my books didnt show progress within the lesson and Ofsted expected to see this. The way I did my lessons meant that i let students choose the notes they made and insisted they tried the assessment activities. This meant when someone looked at their books all they had were short definitions useful equations and graded questions. Which meant every book looked different with some doing much more and some the minimum. I would circulate and try to talk to students.

    After my 100% scrutiny in was told there was a massive difference with ks3 doing much more written work than ks4. In was told students should be making detailed notes on every lesson and I should be providing detailed feedback so students could revise from their books. I advised every student at the start of the year to buy a revision guide.

    This school also insisted if verbal feedback is provided then in had to stamp their books and the student wrote a summary of what I told them then I had to mark the verbal feedback to say i agreed.

    I also had to triple mark all books every 3 lessons I had 9 sets.

    I resigned after 5 months there and went to this brilliant school which had a near zero marking policy just a checklist and an assessed task. It meant I had lots more time to plan I even spoke to the students and I became a much better practitioner because I had the time to think I even got an life back.
  14. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    That's exactly it @Robfreeman

    It's just cover-yer-ass work. We don't trust you to have done something so we want to see reams of rubbish.

    Going back to my History teacher. We made notes as she talked. Some notes we copied off the board. That was useful as an aide-memoire for revision. I questioned everything as a student and as a teacher. Why are we doing this?

    I never had a problem with History notes. A few sketchy notes. Great. Did she ever mark them? I don't think she did. And why would she? They were for our use. They were no good to her. We were literate by that point so I assume she imagined we could "do" note-taking. And we did.

    But that was then. I took the subject and I passed the exam. She did the teaching. I did the rest. Or (in the case of Physics) not. I regret not learning more Physics but I could always do something about it. That's up to me.
    agathamorse and Fierygirl like this.
  15. -myrtille-

    -myrtille- Occasional commenter

    I'm afraid that's definitely not true.

    I work in a school in Special Measures and in pretty dire financial straits.

    I would say the reason my marking (completed, no sets "left behind" for a whole term, but nowhere near as frequent as the policy suggests) doesn't tend to get criticised is because there are bigger fish to fry. Nobody can be bothered to count the dates between comments - they want to see that books have been marked "regularly", and as I try to avoid ever falling months behind (and sometimes have lessons where we don't even do any book work), the books give that impression.

    I would love to work in a school like Pomza's where no written marking is required, but in the meantime I'll keep figuring out ways to mark as little as possible (and only mark the pieces of work where feedback is most useful) whilst keeping out of trouble.
  16. koopatroopa

    koopatroopa Senior commenter

    It's a waste of time. Evidencing teaching and learning should never be more time-consuming or complicated than the actual learning!
    Sack the inspectors.
  17. binaryhex

    binaryhex Lead 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.”

    I had something similar but put up with it as it was a one term contract. As a supply teacher, I pointed out the problem of teaching about 330 students in a week as far as collecting data, tracking progress and inputting it into SIMs. They knew already, of course, but the attitude was, ‘others do it without complaing’, ‘we have to do it because of ofsted’ and ‘you don’t have to do it as you are on supply ....’.

    Your timetable and the marking policy together are completely unreasonable and demonstrates that your school has a low quality SLT and a low quality Head in place. I wonder what other, stupid, decisions they have made. Have you pointed this problem out to you HoD in writing and asked them to point it out to the Head, and asked what you are supposed to do, how much this is already affecting you, how worried you are, what about the workload etc?

    I might be tempted to contact the union, not for help (they can’t) but so they can use you as an example of just how thick the management of some schools are, how impervious to any voluntary agreement over workload they are and that if workload is to truly be tackled, it does require actual rules and legislation not pamphlets with suggestions on.

    Start looking for other jobs.
    agathamorse likes this.
  18. weebleme

    weebleme New commenter

    Have you tried markmate.co.uk?

    Its an online markbook where you dictate or type your feedback, it prints a label on a thermal printer (no need to buy ink!) and you pop it in their book.

    It's helped me keep on top of my marking better! A lot more efficient.

    Alternatively, I've started designing more whole class feedback sheets - there's a number of examples on twitter.
  19. install

    install Star commenter

    No Ofsted then - no parental.or student complaints ? No marked assessments?
    There must be a little marking maybe...
  20. meggyd

    meggyd Lead commenter

    In my last job I saw 300 pupils a week. The expectations are unsustainable. It is also the extras. Seeing 150 kids a day. Maybe there are issues with 15 regarding no hw or behaviour. Having half a class back at the end of the day and putting all the issues and actions on the system. Then the extras. My worst scenario was one day at 7.45 arriving to read my emails, discovering that there had been an incident in KS3 that had nothing to do with me. Swathes of kids in internal and external exclusion that day. Because I taught so many I had to arrange work before the beginning of the day in the two subjects I taught, get it sent home/ to inclusion all before the bell. Data input. 2 mins per child maybe. That is 10 hours each time there is a data entry. Parents evenings. You can't see them all if you teach more than one group per year. SLT blithely suggest you phone all the others in your free time. I could go on.

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