- Effective marking is an essential part of the education process. At its heart, it is an interaction between teacher and pupil: a way of acknowledging pupils’ work, checking the outcomes and making decisions about what teachers and pupils need to do next, with the primary aim of driving pupil progress. This can often be achieved without extensive written dialogue or comments.
- Our starting point is that marking – providing written feedback on pupils’ work – has become disproportionately valued by schools and has become unnecessarily burdensome for teachers. There are a number of reasons for this, including the impact of Government policy, which has been promoted by Ofsted, and decisions taken by school leaders and teachers. This is not to say that all marking should be eliminated, but that it must be proportionate.
- The quantity of feedback should not be confused with the quality. The quality of the feedback, however given, will be seen in how a pupil is able to tackle subsequent work.
- This report will help schools review their practice with the aim of shrinking the importance marking has gained over other forms of feedback and stopping unnecessary and burdensome practice.
- Marking is a vital element of teaching, but when it is ineffective it can be demoralising and a waste of time for teachers and pupils alike. In particular, we are concerned that it has become common practice for teachers to provide extensive written comments on every piece of work when there is very little evidence that this improves pupil outcomes in the long term.
- There is also a cultural challenge here. In many cases the view is that you must spend hours marking to be a good teacher; that writing pages of feedback makes you more effective; and that there is a link between the quantity of marking and pupil progress. These are myths that need to be debunked.
- There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. A balance needs to be struck between a core and consistent approach and trusting teachers to focus on what is best for their pupils and circumstances. With this in mind, the marking review group has developed specific recommendations for Government, Ofsted, employers, governors, school leaders, teachers and researchers, which can be found at the end of the report. 8. In summary, we recommend that all marking should be meaningful, manageable and motivating. This should be the perspective adopted by all engaged in education, from classroom teachers to the Department for Education (DfE).
Action Research- Spring Term 2019
Recent research from the Department for Education and the Education Endowment Foundation shows that meaningful feedback that improves pupils’ work does not have to be written. Feedback is an essential element of teaching, but too often it can be ineffective (EEF, 2019).
- To provide ‘live feedback’ to pupils during the lesson so that they can act on feedback in the moment of learning
- To provide dedicated time after the lesson addressing common misconceptions and allowing pupils time to edit and redraft their work where required
- To develop pupils’ independent learning and self-correction
- To praise and share good examples of work
- To support pupils of higher or lower ability to enable them to reach their full potential
- To reduce the time it takes teachers to mark a class set of books
What will this look like?
- Feedback from teachers showed a reduction in time spent marking and that the feedback went into the next lesson to looked at explicitly
- Pupils could articulate to varying degrees how the feedback helped them to further their learning.
- There was a consistency in the marking approach which allowed marking to be tracked and it was clear where feedback had not impacted in the books and clear where it had
- The feedback sheets on the slides could be linked well to the work in the books to cross reference.
- Parent feedback was positive – the letter outlined the research trial and parents were positive about this at parents events
- Pupils were trying to achieve the polaroid moment so standards of presentation remained high and in fact improved.
- From pupil feedback it was clear that where feedback was done well, it had an impact. Where teachers needed support with effective feedback, this was clear from the pupil’s answers.