I posted here in October https://teacherjenniferd84.wordpress.com/2015/10/04/marking-their-work-vs-marking-their-books/
about how we have changed our Faculty marking policy to move away from marking everything the students write down in their books. Here’s how it’s going, after 1 full term.
- The workload is more manageable. Seriously. When teachers in my faculty now know that they need mark only 1 lesson’s worth of work, every 2 weeks, that’s a big load off their mind. It leaves them free to do other important stuff, like delivering brilliant lessons. Now, I couldn’t imagine being faced with a stack of 30 books with which I have to trawl through 2 whole weeks worth of work and check it all for SPAG, understanding, presentation etc, for 7 separate classes. Nightmare. Impossible. When would I get this done!?
- The students are taking greater ownership over the work done in class- because they don’t know which lesson will be “sampled” for marking, they know they have to up their game and make sure every lesson is presented well, vocab copied accurately, classroom activities completed and marked, homework completed and set out neatly. They LOVE when I have no errors to complete (yes, they get more merit points for this, but they love that their work was of the standard I expected!). They ask their friends “did you get any mistakes, did you have any targets to address?” and there’s a real sense of competition going on!
- It really helps me identify those who are struggling- because I’m marking less, more frequently, the discussions I can have with those who are persistently not completing work, or getting things wrong, are more meaningful. We’re well into a good routine now, when they get their books back, they automatically know to check for highlighted boxes with improvement targets and while they all do this, it allows me 3/4 mins to chat with those who need a verbal explanation.
- The targets highlighted in the books are obvious and can be developed before an assessment. We formally assess every 1/2 term. With the book marking, they way it is, I can tell the students to go back, find all the times they were given targets and write these on their “plan” before their assessment. This means that they are actively addressing the formative targets on their summative piece of assessment, and thus showing the link between classwork and assessment. I don’t think I have ANY student who has nothing to develop- they’ve all been given an improvement target, at one point or other.
- We’ve not had any complaints, from either student, parent or SLT about “why isn’t everything being marked?” We were clear from the start, with the students, that not all of their classwork was going to be marked. It would be looked through, but only 1 lesson’s worth would have recorded feedback. Just because there’s no green on the page, doesn’t mean it hasn’t been looked at by the teacher, mind!
- I’m developing this marking across the school, as part of my NPQSL Project and the Science faculty have recently adopted our policy of not marking every piece of work, this term. I’ll be really interested to see how they’ve got on, when they report back to me at Easter. Obviously, it helps that we have a good SLT who aren’t “breathing down our necks”, insisting that everything the child writes must be marked and have given us the freedom to trial this marking policy. Our whole-school policy is simply that 1 piece of work is “deep marked” every 6 weeks. Yes, this is generous and yes, in MFL we currently go above and beyond this, so perhaps it’ll change in the future. Ofsted are due- it’ll be interesting (or not!) to see what they think of it!