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Discussion in 'Primary' started by jameseth, Feb 10, 2011.

  1. Hi there,
    The SMT at my partner's school have just issued a new marking policy. Part of the policy is a new timescale for when marking should be complete. They have requested that all teachers mark all work done by a student in their books and return it to the students within 24 hours.
    Is this a reasonable request? My partner could end up bringing home 90 books to mark each night! Does anyone else have this kind of policy in their school?
    Any response/advice greatly appreciated.

  2. flickaz

    flickaz New commenter

    We are not allowed to return a book to a child unmarked.
  3. Cynic in me says don't do work in books then! Use photocopied sheets or loose leaf paper..... [​IMG]
    Not very helpful, but neither is the policy.... what about on staff meeting/parents' evening nights? What about in Fridays?
  4. tafkam

    tafkam Occasional commenter

    Neither reasonable, nor productive.
    At the very least, if by Year 6 your staff are able to find the time to mark every piece of work every night, then I'd argue that the students aren't working hard enough.
    I'd be arguing it... or ignoring it.
  5. That just silly!!!!

    In our school we do have the policy that no work should be returned if not marked but it is marked before your next lesson which for some lessons only undertaken once a week that is the next school week.
    We are also encouraged to mark in class with the children and then just stamp it with verbal feedback given which can really cut down your marking.

    Making and returning all books within 24 hrs is just pants!!!

  6. Assuming you are in a primary school, we revamped our marking policy as we found we were setting next steps and marking all books very similarly!

    Our children now all write a "Can I" at the top of their book. At the end of their work they put an M/T box - it stands for me and teacher. The children then self-assess whether they have met their "Can I". In KS1 they put a happy or sad face, in KS2 they put a ticket, dot or ?. In my class (Y5/6 they have to write a comment for me if they put a ? or dot).

    Then as a teacher, if I have worked with that group - no more than 6 per lesson - as a guided group I mark in detail their work and set next steps as appropriate. My TA does the same (but the box says M/Ta). The children who I don't work with just get their M/T box ticked, ? or dotted.

    Works exceptionally well, I don't mark more than 18 books a night in detail but the kids work gets looked over everyday.
  7. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    Jameseth, you don't say which age group or phase your partner teaches. How long 90 books takes to mark really is affected by age. Also there is marking and marking. As someone else has suggested your partner can come up with an approach for marking that suits them and the children's learning and is not overburdensome. Just because you are required to mark each day does not mean that you have to do it in huge depth every day. As much as anything I would think that daily marking, of some sort, will do the children wonders. Children love rapid feedback on what they have done.
    As age goes, 90 sixth form essays for example would take a long time to read, let alone mark. But 90 year 1 books could be looked at in the twinkling of an eye. And it would give you a really good feel for what was going on ....... that's if they use their exercise books in Year 1.[​IMG]
    The ironic thing is that teachers feel overloaded by the volume of work that primary school children produce that they have to mark, but parents at most schools are expected to view it all in 5 minutes twice a year before the parents' evening.
    As a secondary school teacher I had to return books by the next lesson the children had with me - not necessarily the next day. With some subjects you can get a lot of the marking done in some way during class - self-marking, peer-marking etc.
    Presumably the SMT came up with some rationale for why they were introducing this policy, potential benefits for the kids, how to manage it as a teacher etc.
    I would have thought that a school would only bring in a marking policy if they were worried about something, or are having a real drive for improvement, they were expecting OFSTED, or have had a complaint. Are any of these things the case?
    How do you plan appropriately for the class as a whole and the individuals within it without seeing their work really regularly? Maybe I'm weird, but when I taught the thing I liked most was seeing the results in their exercise books.

  8. Hello!
    As this is a primary teacher's forum and you mention your partner needs to mark 90 books a night am I right in assuming they work in upper KS2?
    24 hours is a challenge to turn that many books around and make the marking meaningful. Hopefully the policy also offers advice on the style of marking the staff should use, e.g. 6 or 8 books in depth and the rest "basic" marking. If not, maybe they could ask for clarification on the how not just the when.
    I agree with previous comments - there may be ways to get round this by peer marking, self assessment, worksheets and activities rather than always writing in exercise books. Evidence of effective learning doesn't always have to be in an execise book,especially for primary children. When I mark on a rota I do the non-depth marking (tick, don't forget punctuation, what great ideas, but have you added connectives, type) at school before I come home, then take home just the 6 books to assess/mark in depth. I have a record chart to know which child has receieved in depth marking /assessment and for which piece of work, so I can scan and decide which books to take home.
    Having said that I do believe that a book should be marked before the next piece of work is done in it. If it is AfL marking the comments should impact on the next piece of work. Without feedback errors could just be repeatd in the next lesson.
    A new policy doesn't always mean there is something wrong - ensuring continuity between staff, getting it in black and white for new staff, general expectation by governors / LEA, some people just LOVE having a policy for it(!), just so there is one. Maybe more discussion at a staff meeting might clarify this for all the staff at your partner's school.
    Hope it gets sorted out
  9. The Red Heron

    The Red Heron New commenter

    Oh to be SMT sitting in an office dreaming up this rubbish that keeps teachers working 12 hours a day

    I mark in some depth a piece of extended writing every two weeks and then group Im working with daily..after that I just initial and give verbal feedback and comments to the children
    As the class is on for 100% L4 + in reading, 91% in writing and 91% in maths this year (Y6)..feel this hasnt disadvantaged them too much....
  10. mprimaryz

    mprimaryz New commenter

    Most (teacher) marking is pretty pointless. I'm all for self mark and verbal feedback. Instant. How often do the children read your comments anyway? If a kid puts loads of effort into their work they are likely to want verbal feedback "Well done." Works much better as then you can give them pointers at the same time.

    I know loads of teacher are going to say that their children have to initial or write a comment next to the teachers comment to prove they have read it but come on people... they see coloured ink and just make their mark next to it. You don't have t mark work to mark the work. You can get all the feedback you need by looking at the work and talking to the children. What's the point in marking every book in detail for every subject. Pointless!

    Seeing teachers writing in books is purely for the benefit of SMT and Ofsted. Very rarely does it benefit the children.
  11. Thanks for all your responses, they are much appreciated. My partner is an upper key stage 2 teacher in a primary school, hence the potential for 90 odd books a night!
    I myself am a secondary school teacher, and i do usually have at least a couple of days before i have to hand back marked work, but I do feel that having to mark all work done in books and hand back the next day is, at the very least, ambitious! I do agree with the comments made about how students like to receive fast feedback, but there is also a need for my partner to have some work/life balance.
    It is interesting to see the different marking policies of different schools - i'm sure all have their up sides and down sides. I better log off now...I have marking to do! :)

  12. Mr Primary is actually quite right. I suppose it hangs on how well trained your LSA is really (and if you have one of course)
    I have 4 ability groups in Lit/Num, one will always be Ind on the computer for a Lit/Num task leaving three groups. I have 2 lovely LSAs who work with a group each and then myself, by the end of a 20 min session of either Lit/Num those children should have personal accurate and meaningful verbal feedback against the objective of the task rendering day to day written marking totally unnecessary (as the spoken word is always more meaningful and powerful then the written word)
    For summative pieces like a long write then of course I will do this at the w.e or holidays with the two stars and a wish system. As for non core subjects always an initial and again verbal feedback generally. Never would I waste my time taking 30/60/90 books home, beside anything I would be bored to tears very quickly and would lose my zest for the job. the results speak for themselves proress this year has been very good and end of Y6 predictions are 90% + in reading writing and maths. I sleep easy at night knowing my kids are getting a good assessment for learning deal and that written marking is just another box ticker for the powers that be
  13. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    It sounds like a good system ........ but there's always room for improvement isn't there? I don't personally think the spoken word is always more meaningful and powerful than the written word. There's a place for both, and particularly with older children who can learn something by looking back at constructive written comments the next day or a few days later ..... or maybe even at revision time.
    Also there are some children who in the hurly burly of the classroom do not always take in a quick comment from a teacher. It's also nice if children can look back through their exercise books with parents from time to time and read the work and comments together.
    It sounds like a very health % level 4s. What percentage level 5s do you get?
  14. Here here!
    I've recently gone on supply and have seen many marking policies, some reasonable and manageable, some just down right ridiculous!
    The best ones are where verbal feedback is encouraged, or, just a selection are 'focus marked' which the chidlren are aware of during the lesson and so expect to have to receive and read a teacher comment. On supply I am constantly paranoid that any work on paper will be filed under B1N or comments will just be ignored, so I make a point of either peer assessing or going around the class and giving instant feedback during the lesson which makes the chidlren know that their work is valued and has immediate effects.
    I think if you're going to bother marking work, it needs to be as soon as possible or not at all, and verbal before written. Lets face it, at least the older children are aware that their work is sometimes ticked/commented on just because their teacher has to do what they are told!
  15. Anonymous

    Anonymous New commenter

    90 books a night - ok - maths, literacy and say science, geography or history.
    1 minute a book - 90 minutes
    2 mins a book - 180 minutes
    That is a lot of time if you are going to mark "seriously" - i.e. assess literacy, give written feedback. That's a good reason for peer / self assessment. There are not enough hours in the day for everything SMT demands.
  16. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    I'm sorry but that really doesn't follow at all. I teach upper primary and have never ever planned so poorly as to have 90 books to mark in a night.

    Monday: Maths, Work with one group, another group with TA, so have just 12-15 books to mark, but they can often mark it themselves anyway. Literacy, S&L activities. Afternoon is PE and ICT.

    Tuesday: Maths, as Monday. Literacy, S&L and planning activities, so quick marking of planning might be necessary. Afternoon is topic, so generally active or art based learning, occasionally extended writing which needs marking.

    Wednesday: Maths as Monday. Literacy generally S&L, getting ready to write lesson, so not really marked. Maybe a quick tick at any I didn't see in lessons. Afternoon is science and yes often needs marking, though can usually get them all done in an hour.

    Thursday: Maths, mental test and they mark their own. Otherwise as Monday. Literacy generally is writing, I don't mark the group I have worked with as they have had feedback all lesson, but do mark the rest. Afternoon is PPA.

    Friday: Maths is past SATs questions in pairs linked to the topic being studied and they almost always mark their own at the end of the lesson. They hate having to wait until Monday to see how they got on if we don't get it marked in lesson. Literacy is Big Writing and I do mark that properly. Afternoon is art, so not marked in the same way as books.

    So I suppose the potential is there to have 90 books to mark on a Tuesday and Wednesday, but I'd never be daft enough to plan my week to get that!

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