Schools wanted to take part in marking without grading trial

Project to reduce workload is one of four new trials announced today by the Education Endowment Foundation

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A major research project into whether marking without grades can boost pupils’ performance is looking for schools to participate.

The trial of FLASH Marking has been announced by the Education Endowment Foundation today, along with three other evaluations of programmes to boost pupils’ maths and English scores.

FLASH Marking has been developed by Meols Cop High School in Southport and aims to reduce teacher workload by making marking more focused.

Instead of grading work, teachers use an arrow to show if a child is below, working at or above their expected target, with codes such as CR meaning “creative original ideas” and V meaning “ambitious vocabulary needed” to let students see their strengths and weaknesses.

The school estimates that by using the system, teachers can now mark a set of Year 11 30-minute practice essays in an hour.

The EEF has awarded £355,300 to trial and evaluate the scheme with 12,500 pupils in 100 schools.

'Breaking the cycle of disadvantage'

There is also money for trials of an app which sends activities and tips on child development to parents of children aged 2-6. Parents taking part in the trial of the EasyPeasy app will be sent short video clips which give them ideas of games to play with their child.

A previous small trial of the programme, funded through the Sutton Trust, found that parents taking part reported improvements in their child’s ability to persist at difficult tasks and work things out for themselves. The £359,824 trial, conducted with 8,840 children, will also measure language and communication skills.

“We know that the attainment gap between the richest and the poorest pupils begins before they’ve even started school. Tackling this disparity early on is critical to breaking the cycle of disadvantage and improving social mobility.

“But it can be difficult to get parents involved in their child’s learning. EasyPeasy is an inexpensive app that encourages positive play and interaction with children at home. After early promising results, our trial will find out if this could be an effective way of improving parental engagement,” Sir Kevan Collins, chief executive of the EEF, said.

A digital maths app, onebillion:app-based maths learning, which helps 5 and 6-year-olds work through maths exercises at their own pace, will also be trialled with 1,200 pupils at a cost of £227,000. And the Education Development Trust’s school partnership programme, which helps schools set up school-to-school support, has £721,533 for a trial involving 300 schools.

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