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Maths - Marks of dedication

What's it about?

I hate marking. It is by far the least enjoyable part of my job, writes Craig Barton. I feel I am completely wasting my time ticking, crossing and correcting work when the pupil will just glance at the final mark and move on. Of course, I am talking about the type of homework that can be marked by ticks, crosses and corrections and is conducive to peer marking or getting the pupils to mark it themselves.

What to do next

For many, the solution lies with MyMaths (, an online service that sets pupils homework, immediately marks it for them, and allows them to attempt it again.

When pupils need to consolidate understanding of a topic and ensure they have the basic tools in place to solve equations, add fractions and find the median of a set of numbers, I don't think there is anything wrong with them doing it on a computer and having it automatically marked.

Making your mark

My time is better served preparing and marking other homeworks - areas that test whether pupils can apply these basic skills - and hence have a greater impact on their learning. For these, I turn towards unstructured past exam paper questions and UKMT Maths Challenge questions. Better still, there is great merit in setting pupils the task of preparing for the next topic, writing a set of revision notes, using schemes to mark exam answers or coming up with marking schemes of their own.

Anything else?

Check out murkle's randomised test, find questions for algebra and see how your pupils tackle self-testing, all on TES Resources.

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