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Outdated Marking Strategies

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by BoldAsBrass, Nov 27, 2018.

  1. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    You have missed something, I think.

    Curriculum that doesn't meet the needs of the children of 2018. A curriculum that suited Michael Gove when he attended Robert Gordon's College in the late 70s and early 80s; a curriculum that appeals to me and probably resembles what I was taught from 1966 to 1973.

    That doesn't make it right for about 95% of the population.
    lardylegs, agathamorse and strawbs like this.
  2. BoldAsBrass

    BoldAsBrass New commenter

  3. thekillers1

    thekillers1 Lead commenter

    Highly effective for learners and teachers alike.
    agathamorse likes this.
  4. newposter

    newposter Occasional commenter

    Yes but how do you evidence it? HOW DO YOU EVIDENCE IT?!
  5. matevans

    matevans New commenter

    I've never written a critical post before, but I have to say I couldn't disagree with you more.
    Marking must have a target which will help them move on to the next level. They check back on that target before writing the next essay and incorporate the advice into their next work. Hey presto they improve. I can't 'simply tell them' because 30 essays will have 30 different pieces of advice needed and different areas & aspects to illustrate where they could have used these structural techniques or improved content or improved the links etc. Also proper marking shows that I care about them, their work and their efforts. Students value this. Mind you I only mark their assessments and extended tasks - I'd agree marking class work is a time sink without much value.
    TEA2111 likes this.
  6. FriarLawrence

    FriarLawrence Occasional commenter

    The most useful marking I’ve done this year:

    Y11 mocks. They got a mark per question. No comments. They got taken through the mark scheme, q by q. They got a sheet with a selection of standard q by q targets on it. I taught. They thought. They ticked what they did wrong and redrafted their answers.

    Y10 top set essays. At the end of each section of their set text, I set them a cumulative essay, which introduces a new element of challenge. I mark it by use of a tick sheet based on a combination of the mark scheme and my professional judgement of what makes a good literature essay. A set of books takes 45 minutes and they just keep getting better and better.

    What doesn’t work and is f*cking pointless:
    • Lengthy comments
    • Marking / acknowledging everything
    • “Individualised feedback” when 99% of issues and misconceptions are best dealt with whole-class
    • Thinking that marking = good teaching. Some of the best teachers I’ve ever met have barely marked a thing. Some of the worst have books which would win awards.
  7. FriarLawrence

    FriarLawrence Occasional commenter

    I literally couldn’t disagree with this more. You’re playing into the hands of the “marking is vital” hegemony which has reigned in teaching forever on the basis of zero evidence. All that “individualised” horseapples achieves is to make you feel good. Honestly.

    In 15 years of (hate to say it, but very successful) teaching, I’ve never marked a set of books which had more than 4 or 5 important misconceptions between the lot. You only get to “30 different pieces of advice” if you’re trying to fix everything about each kid’s work. That’s not the job, and is a waste of your time. Work smarter. Sorry to say it.
  8. Lalex123

    Lalex123 Occasional commenter

    How do you do this for 20 different classes of 30 students per week? That’s 600 written comments!

    How is this appropriate for subjects like maths, music, PE, drama performance?

    It is comments like this that come from literacy based subjects that only have 5 different groups each week that make my life a living hell.
    Jolly_Roger1 likes this.
  9. Bobbbs

    Bobbbs Occasional commenter

    Marking is pointless.

    Proof? You're in the 20s for English and Maths worldwide. You're the only country I know of that does "marking" like this.

    It's a stupid practice, based in a desire to make teachers "accountable".

    Marking shows you care about them? Ha! Paying attention to them, listening to them, and showing them compassion does that. Not some arbitrary nonsense written after a Formative Assessment.
  10. Bobbbs

    Bobbbs Occasional commenter

    Once again:
    • Marking is pointless unless it's a homework or a test.
    • Britain is the only area that does it because your education system is a disgrace due to political machinations.
    • The majority of students don't care about marking that's not to do with exams, so why book mark? Ofsted.
    • Ofsted get all excited when they see new marking policies (it's quite perverse).
    • Book Scrutiny's are a joke, and a method of ousting teachers who don't jump through the hoops of a broken system.
    Mark tests to show them how they're doing; mark homework essays/projects to give them guidance. Not hard. It's how the majority of the top 20 nations do it.
  11. Oldfashioned

    Oldfashioned Senior commenter

    Exactly this! Sick of being told that marking is important. It really makes no difference.
    agathamorse and FriarLawrence like this.
  12. matevans

    matevans New commenter

    Only '14 years' of, I hate to say it, rather successful teaching myself. Thank you for suggesting I am unable to think for myself, or indeed seem unable to critically assess the method of developing a students work. I'll stick to my way having watched plenty of students improve their skills as a result - last 5 years A Level ALPS data average of 1.05 for example. Maybe when I reach the magic 15 years then all will be revealed to me that I was wrong all along, and then I will 'know' I've been wasting my time and doing it just to make me feel good. Until that revelation, I'll continue to think marking is valuable.
  13. matevans

    matevans New commenter

    I only mark HW and assessments. Skim the rest of the book to check their understanding of key points and that they're focused. I doubt we're actually disagreeing much here. I just think the marking of these elements needs to respect the work they've put in.
  14. matevans

    matevans New commenter

    Didn't say it was did I. I think the word 'essay' might have led to the idea this might not be relevant to maths, PE etc. I'm surprised my thinking marking is important in literacy based subjects is the cause of your 'living hell'. 5 A Level groups and 5 7-11 groups keeps me busy - not 20 classes, just the 10. And where did I ever say each book needed marking every week, and every time needed a comment. But quality marking matters.
  15. matevans

    matevans New commenter

    No, marking does show you care about them. I didn't say it was the only way. You might not like it, but it is true. When students stay behind after lessons to talk through your marking comments, when parents thank you at parents evening for the detailed feedback you've given, when students hurry to open their book to read what you've written about the HW they have tried hard really in and respect your evaluation of it etc. I've never written a piece of 'arbitrary nonsense' for marking in 14 years. That really would suggest you don't care. Try a clear target or two, I've found it really helps....
  16. Grandsire

    Grandsire Senior commenter

    It’s not just about keeping up with marking any longer. My children’s exercise books need to ‘evidence’ all teaching and learning. The idea seems to be that anyone (eg SLT) who picks up a book can see the entire ‘learning journey’ that took place.

    It’s a ridiculous notion which seems to have taken hold like a pernicious weed, and no one is challenging the shift from books being where children practice a written skill to proof of any - and all - educational activity. So some willing staff now photograph each child’s science or PE task and stick them in, or scribe for each child in RE, just to get something in the books each day. Even interventions on scraps of paper need to be stuck in, and it’s all proof you’re doing something (anything!) to those who might come poking around. So much for trust!

    I put as little as I can in books, and do as many table-top number card or word games in class as I want, which leave no trace but make a real difference - yes, I like to live dangerously.

    Oh and even the phrase ‘evidencing learning’ puts my teeth on edge:
    agathamorse and -myrtille- like this.
  17. drek

    drek Lead commenter

    You can’t have a marking policy that suits one person and their time table and impose it across the board.
    That’s what causes problems. New fervent lead staff with reduced teaching times, owing to other duties added on, cause havoc sometimes.
    Their brain can’t seem to compute that though they may be able to use some of their extra frees per week to come up, carry out and ‘monitor’ detailed useless unproductive policies, it can and has contributed to a shortage of subject specialists.
    I left my old school due to being required to show evidence at ‘drop in’s’ of marking up to 90 pieces of course work (with detailed feedback comments) and 120 non coursework books every week (detailed www/EBI every 3 lessons) because we didn’t know when they would drop in. Absolutely horrendous.......
    agathamorse likes this.
  18. Robfreeman

    Robfreeman Occasional commenter

    At my last school before I decided supply was the way forward in a meeting about books I said that I went and spoke to everykid during the lesson which was true.

    Hod loved the idea however he said to evidence it I needed to use my verbal feedback stamp and get the kid to write down what I've told them in purple pen and then I had to go and mark the verbal feedback to make sure that it was correct.

    I became a supply teacher. I'm a very slow writer and even a cursory mark takes me two hours for a class set.
    agathamorse likes this.
  19. Bobbbs

    Bobbbs Occasional commenter

    Try a clear target or two? Quite rude, no?

    Petulant ad hominem aside, let's see if your ideas hold up.

    If you think marking is meaningful, and really that powerful a tool, could you please explain why the UK is the only education system I know of (and I know a lot) that uses such draconian, and counterproductive methods?

    Once you have answered that, could you possibly explain why the UK, given this valuable "marking" policy, does so poorly in comparison to other nations when it comes to education?

    I look forward to your response.
    agathamorse likes this.
  20. dodie102

    dodie102 Occasional commenter

    We mark important assessments summatively (Though at GCSE and A Level I'll sneak in some obvious targets) including mocks and extended drafts formatively. Whole class feedback too.

    It is quite a task at times to manage it but I'm privileged to be in a school which does recognise the need to think creatively about marking. All that being said though I really do think that individual feedback on extended written work that I write down in their books is important. My students then act on that feedback and look back at it next time they are doing an assessment task.

    Tick and flick - I don't bother. There may well be pages without any feedback but it is there where needed, it is useful and the students do respect it.
    agathamorse likes this.

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