Marking will mean something different to almost every school, and to some extent, every teacher. It’s arguably the part of teaching that causes the most stress to many teachers, and if the feedback we’ve received is anything to go by, it’s the most time-consuming too.
What does Ofsted say?
The key, it seems, to securing positive feedback from Ofsted lies in the presence of an effective marking policy and the implementation of this policy. Ofsted says:
“Ofsted recognises that marking and feedback to pupils, both written and oral, are important aspects of assessment. However, Ofsted does not expect to see any specific frequency, type or volume of marking and feedback; these are for the school to decide through its assessment policy.”
If there isn’t an expectation on volume or frequency of marking, there’s more wiggle room to build marking policies that are a more tailored fit for each school. Something else that has happened is a shift in language used by teachers; there’s less tendency to use the phrase ‘marking policy’, with many schools instead adopting ‘feedback strategies’ (see an example here).
We’re not teachers, so unfortunately we can’t truly understand the pressure that teachers face daily, but we can listen, learn, and endeavour to help develop solutions where possible in effort to make reaching goals easier for teachers.
Of all the ways schools can approach marking, we’ve opted to focus on live marking for this post. It seems to be quite a buzzy phrase at the moment and it’s piqued the interest of our planner specialists who set us a challenge to find out more (and our marketing team never say no to a challenge).
According to Innovate My School, live marking “is a simple but effective technique which involves the marking of books during a lesson / series of lessons with a particular class. This doesn’t mean you simply take all the pupils’ books and tick and flick them: it means sitting down with learners and discussing their work in detail with them.” A blogging teacher here introduces us to the ‘verbal feedback given’ stamp, which gave us an idea. While stamps do of course save time in that teachers aren’t having to write the same three words multiple times, what if this feedback strategy was already implemented as part of the raw materials students already have?
Earlier this year, we launched exercise books as part of our fully customised range. As with our planners, the content is chosen by you and can be tweaked here and there or thoroughly overhauled depending on how specific to your school’s methods you want to be. Those who have already received an exercise book sample pack will have noticed that the samples include two integrated methods of feedback – Even Better If, and What Went Well.
How about eliminating the need for stamps or stickers altogether? By including a simple system in your exercise books that acknowledges feedback was given, you can save valuable time for teachers and students; the verbal feedback is supplemented by the students making their own notes that they can then refer back to at a later date (particularly useful for revision and acknowledging where they have come up against issues before). The image we’ve included is just for illustration; you can incorporate verbal feedback however you want.
As we continue to develop our product range and the page ideas in our library, we’d be very interested in hearing from schools that have integrated feedback strategies into their materials. What has worked for you could also help another school. You can contact us using the form in the right-hand menu.