The key to effective marking and feedback in schools

Tes Institute Team

Institute Blog article image

The key to effective marking and feedback in schools

The volume of marking, feedback and data collection is a common grievance amongst teachers.  As a Head of Department and a teacher of 11 years, marking was one thing I often dreaded most about my job until I recently adopted a new way  of marking effectively  that saves myself a lot of time.

Having spent time to mark pupils’ work it can be disheartening to see them not taking it on-board. In order to meet the Teachers’ Standards, teachers need to evidence that they are giving pupils regular feedback that has an impact upon their progress, however research has shown that writing very long and detailed comments on students’ work is both time consuming and may not have the impact you hoped for.

Pupils don’t always read it fully, they do not always respond to teacher’s feedback and therefore they will not make progress as a result.

A smarter way of marking

A “smarter” marking method that I recently adopted is student self-assessment. Pupils look critically at their work, make their own improvements, and also save you time in the process.

Instead of writing extensive comments, you can use a series of annotations, coding and highlighting, followed by a comment on the strength of the piece and some improvements. This saves time when marking and also gives the pupil the tools to critique their own work and discuss during the following lesson.

Your pupil is encouraged to look critically at their work and make their own improvements. This develops their critical thinking skills, their independent learning and then enables them to act on the feedback.

Three tips on ‘closing the gap’

1. Use a coloured highlighter to select areas for the pupil to reflect on which is clear to them, but do not use for spelling punctuation or grammar

2. Write comments at the end of the piece of work to clarify strengths and improvements

3. Actively encourage the pupil to self-assess their work or peer marking by using green pen to demonstrate that they have responded to the feedback

This sort of strategy works best when you can also then spend time within a lesson to enable students to ‘Close the Gap’.

It can take time to “train” your students to get used to this dialogue but it can create a way for your pupils to take charge of their learning by responding to feedback, and saves you time too. Ultimately, this then enables you to show evidence for meeting more of the teacher standards.

– Written by Sara Trickey Pathway Tutor for Tes Institute