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Marking policy and colour blindness

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by AislingF, Jun 11, 2020.

  1. AislingF

    AislingF New commenter

    We are currently reviewing our marking policy and a two colour system to highlight achieved objectives and areas for improvement has been agreed. The problem is agreeing the colours to use as the original green and orange has been dismissed as not being useful for those with colour blindness. Does anyone have any suggestions for colour pairings?
  2. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    For severe colour vision defects many colours will not be accurately recognised (some pinks look blue) and many can appear as a shade of grey.

    I stick with black or blue for this reason. Ditto printed material, actually always black.
  3. nvanlimbeek

    nvanlimbeek New commenter

    The vast majority of us who are colourblind suffer with Red / Green issues - without going into the genetics, very few females show colourblindness, and around 1 in 15 males show colourblindness.

    It stops me being a pilot (at night), a train driver, an electrician (but not now an installer of broadband!) - Occasionally playing snooker I have to check on which colour the brown is - also I used to have issues finding orange golf balls on the fairway, and also I would find it longer to pick up a red cricket ball when fielding in poor light - Ian Botham didn't have as many issues with it though!!)

    Unless you are colourblind, it is really difficult to understand (the amount of adults that will say "what's that colour" and I say the correct answer!!!!) - sometimes shades of "reddish colours" may look a slight different shade to others -

    Find an Ishihara test online - when you see numbers - sometime I will see just coloured bubbles or a different number - lots of merged greens and reds can appear brown. This does not mean don't use these colours in class!

    In 20 years of teaching - I have seen one issue - a trainee last year had a probability question on the board with "coloured balls in a bag" - myself and the other trainee who was R/G colourblind had issues. - It was a green screen and the red and brown balls looked very similar.

    If you are using white paper, there isn't too much to worry about - that's just my personal view (you have probably identified students who may prefer a coloured worksheet or overlay due to other issues anyway)
    strawbs and agathamorse like this.
  4. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Multi-coloured marking can be a handy way of annotating and assessing work. The bottom line is that the colours don't actually matter, except with slightly OCD management. What really matters is that the learner reads the annotations and finds them useful.
    ACOYEAR8, agathamorse and needabreak like this.
  5. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    So true.
    ACOYEAR8 and agathamorse like this.
  6. meggyd

    meggyd Lead commenter

    All this colour stuff is nonsense.
  7. Jonntyboy

    Jonntyboy Lead commenter

    In my years of teaching I have only come across half a dozen kids where this was an issue. They told me and we adjusted what we did for them. No problem.

    There were dozens of classes and thousands of kids where it was never any difficulty, so it's not something I worry about.

    Almost every place I've been to has used a simple traffic light system. Unsurprisingly, this is usually Red for way under/cause for concern, Amber for almost there and Green for on target. However, I altered it at one school to add a Blue section for high achievement, and this led to a better G&T system in the end, so that worked well. :)
    ACOYEAR8 likes this.
  8. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    Be unfortunate for the red/Green colour vision defect affected students.
  9. Jonntyboy

    Jonntyboy Lead commenter

    As I said, we adjusted for that very few that this applied to.

    There were so few that changing a whole system just in case one happened to appear in school would have been rather a waste of time.

    (Just out of interest I have asked our SENCo today if there are any colour issues in our place. There is one girl in Y8 who struggles with anything written on a blue background and one boy in y11 who can't differentiate easily between red and brown. I don't teach them so wasn't aware. Two out of about a thousand.)
  10. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    Minorities matter. So did you switch your colours around for red green colour blind students? I'd get confused with a reverse traffic light system for a few students, I'm KS4/5 so don't feel the need, but do have a child with colour vision defect who excelled at both science and art her friends would help in science but I'd get the odd text photo asking what colour something was particularly when she was in lower school, I think it's often over looked, especially in some powerpoints and displays, if people like to jolly them up (mainly primary in my experience).

    It's been all online marking for months if I had to switch colour for typing comments I'd lose my mind. I thought coloured marking was a fad, no idea people still do it.
  11. Jonntyboy

    Jonntyboy Lead commenter

    I was referring not to marking but to assessment reports - sorry if I missed the original point or misled you - not intentional.

    What we did with the kid who struggled, as far as I recall, was to use R A and G as bold letters instead of colour coding the report.
    needabreak and ACOYEAR8 like this.
  12. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    Yes I actually use RAG on revision checklists with ks4/ks5. It's ok we can easily get crossed wires here.
  13. AdamVero

    AdamVero New commenter

    As others have pointed out, the choice of colours is not the big deal here - there are few colour choices which are suitable for absolutely everyone while having the immediate emotional association of red=bad, green=good (in a Western culture. East Asians usually interpret red as good, lucky etc).
    Whichever colour is the "negative" or "even better if" colour here, simply agree that for students who cannot see the difference that these marks/comments will be underlined or circled, and the others will not be.

    Also bear in mind that in many cases of colour vision deficiency, people can tell one colour from another side by side but may not be able to understand which one you call "orange" or "green". One way to help with this is to provide the key every time, in the same pen that you actually used. If they see one as lighter or darker, or more red or less blue (or whatever), they will know which is which. Combined with underline or circles and you should be fine.

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