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Outdated Marking Strategies

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


    SEBREGIS Senior commenter

    For me marking works this way:

    Can I honestly say I know how my students are doing?

    How do I show the progress my class is or is not making to other people, so that I can get help where it is required?

    Can I identify what each student needs to do to 'get better' at doing my subject?

    What is the best way of me telling them this?

    There is no 'one size fits all' solution to this.
  2. CheeseMongler

    CheeseMongler Senior commenter

    From your perspective... not necessarily the students.
    Doesn't this imply your written comment was redundant if the student needed to speak to you in order to understand it?
    So the purpose of your marking is so the parents give you a pat on the back?

    Sorry, but I dislike the way your posts reflect the "one-size fits all" attitude towards marking that I think is the major issue. I don't doubt that some students relish the written feedback. (Especially if half of your classes are sixth form). I don't question that those individuals who read and respond to written comments, those who discuss with supportive parents, will benefit from your comments.

    To imply that everyone must therefore do this with every student is the issue. Half the students I teach struggle to read a written comment (and that's not just because of my handwriting). Very few of them would have the confidence to independently talk through the comments if they didn't completely understand. A lot do not have supportive families at home.

    Marking policies don't reflect this though, every student must have a written comment; it doesn't matter if it will benefit that student or not. Hey, it doesn't even matter if the student can even read it as long as they put a mark in red/purple/green pen to acknowledge it is there.
  3. matevans

    matevans New commenter

    If you look at my first comment in this chain, it was in reply to a series of posts from people saying they felt marking was largely unnecessary or pointless (surely an example of a 'one sized' policy attitude). I don't agree with that and tried to explain why. I wouldn't for a moment suggest I know how everyone in every school context should mark. I never said I did. If you don't think it works in your context, it is a waste of your time clearly. I never said I backed whole school imposed inappropriate marking policies - who would? I don't think I did imply everyone should do a certain type of marking.

    But in my teaching & in the context I work in, it is hugely valuable to my students I think, and the best teachers I've worked with have marked well - so I wrote to defend marking. I know many many of my written comments have have made no impact, I'm know many many of my targets have been ignored. But they do work well for a lot of kids, especially when they see the same target repeated two or three times and then the penny drops as to what they need to do to make better progress.

    I don't judge the success of the feedback by if they put a mark next to it. What would be the point? I measure it with their next essay. Most times I don't get them to do anything specifically with the feedback, except ask them to re-read it before their next essay and focus on getting that one element better. I get 'reminded' about the need to get them to respond as a result.

    And no, of course I don't do feedback to get a pat on the back from parents. Really - it takes so many hours every week to do it, to suggest someone would do it to get a few thank yous would suggest a microscopic self-esteem. But kids are not stupid. It is no coincidence to see a correlation between that the teachers my own school age kids most respect, and the effort that is put in by that teacher, and an important element (& I'm not implying this is the most important) in that is marking. It is mutual respect - if a teacher expects a student to try hard in their HW / assessment, that teacher needs to show they value and respect that by the effort put in in the marking. And if we don't want them to work hard on their HW, it isn't worth setting.
    dodie102 likes this.
  4. FriarLawrence

    FriarLawrence Occasional commenter

    I'm not denigrating your teaching. You sound great. I just think you've misidentified what makes you great. Let's use me as a control. My A level results are pretty much identical to yours in ALPS terms. My GCSE progress scores are outstanding, and my sec-mod top set last year did better than the top set at the supposedly "outstanding" grammar down the road in raw attainment (more grades 8 and 9). In Ofsted terms (bleuch) I've been "outstanding" for most of my career.

    I generally don't bang on about my track record online, having nothing to prove, but in this case it's unfortunately necessary in order to make the following point: I don't do any of the things you advocate.

    I was having a conversation about marking with another dept head the other day. He's universally adored by his students, consistently ALPS 1, incredible GCSE results, huge uptake for his subject. He doesn't do any of the things you advocate either.

    We're clearly, all three of us, good teachers. We clearly all get excellent results. You break your back with marking. I don't. My colleague doesn't. And your contention is that marking is the thing that makes all the difference, even when there's no large-scale evidence behind you, and quite a bit against you? It simply doesn't add up.
    agathamorse and Oldfashioned like this.
  5. cathr

    cathr New commenter

  6. cathr

    cathr New commenter

  7. cathr

    cathr New commenter

    Why does writing have to be done from memory? The children could take pleasure in composing their 'own' text using writing frame?
  8. rootietoot19

    rootietoot19 New commenter

    If you've addressed an issue, verbally or written, then there should be an expectation that the child works hard to correct it.
    As teachers, our job is to ensure children achieve. Marking in any form is only effective if it has an impact and this is measured by the outcome. Marking cannot stand alone! As a leader I've seen many lengthy, well written comments which are completely pointless! At the other end, I've seen large ticks across a page of errors that are repeated day upon day! Always ask yourself, who are you writing it for? If it helps the child, great! If it's to prove to SLT that you're doing your job and tick a box then STOP! I have no doubt, some leaders will question you. This is when you have to know your children and therefore provide the evidence that the child has understood, reflected and responded to any kind of verbal or written feedback you've provided.
  9. Oldfashioned

    Oldfashioned Occasional commenter

    There is zero evidence that this works. If a child can 'work hard' to correct an error, having had some guidance in red pen, we wouldn't need teachers. 'provide evidence' ! I'm a professional who knows my job, there's your evidence.

    All those countries above us in the pisa table, they don't mark anything but tests.

    Oh and by btw if you have time to check books so intensively you should be teaching more. You sound like another ncsl robot trying to justify yet more pernicious policies.

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