Reclaim your Marking

Play your cards right

40 Quick Marking Strategies

Too many decisions in the classroom are currently being made based on what ‘they’ might think, whether ‘they’ are SLT or Ofsted.  The danger is that teachers are not owning their pedagogical choices. 

Kevin Lister explains it perfectly here.  “The problem comes when we forget why we're doing something, and just do it without thinking, without questioning... As professional teachers we should actively seek out as wide a range of methods and techniques for teaching as we can... We then need to use our professional judgement to select from this range... To do something because someone else has told us to do it... is to abdicate our professional responsibilities...teaching practice should be a conscious, deliberate act. Decisions need to be taken actively rather than received passively, and improvements actively sought.”

I don’t have time to know the pedagogy...

A definition for ‘learned helplessness’ is “a condition in which a person suffers from a sense of powerlessness, arising from a persistent failure to succeed.” 

If teachers don’t understand and utilise the pedagogy behind marking, we run the risks of:

  • Failing to make the most effective and efficient choices about what works
  • Marking which hinders students’ progress.  Dylan Wiliam points out here that in 38% of well-designed studies, feedback actually made performance worse
  • Being held hostage by the decisions of others
  • Being unable to engage effectively in necessary discussion about what works
  • Reinforcing ‘learned helplessness’

This blog is meant to be read in conjunction with last week’s blog here, which outlines in more detail the pedagogy behind effective and efficient marking.

Know your marking hand and play it wisely...

6 Strategies for Increased Guided Instruction

  1. Clear success criteria @Improving Teaching
  2. Ethic of Excellence @Headguruteacher
  3. Modelling @Headguruteacher
  4. Pre-Flight Check list @Belmont Teach
  5. Effective hinge questions @Improving Teaching
  6. Pre-empt unnecessary feedback @Reflecting English

4 Strategies for Live Marking

  1. Verbal feedback @Class Teaching
  2. Live Marking @Class Teaching
  3. Dot Round @Doug Lemov’s Field Notes
  4. Real-time dot marking @Improving Teaching

7 Strategies for Re-guided Instruction

  1. 5 Minute Flick
  2. My Favourite No @Huntingdon Learning Hub
  3. Video Modelling @The Goldfish Bowl
  4. Taxonony of Errors @Canons Broadside
  5. Sentence Escalators @Reflecting English
  6. Layered Writing @Class Teaching
  7. Differentiated ‘Exit Tickets’ @Pragmatic Education

10 Strategies for Guided Marking Practice

  1. Find Faults and Fix @Learning Spy
  2. Gritty Editing @Reflecting English
  3. Assessment Frameworks (Exemplar essay self assessment) @Love Learning Ideas.
  4. Worked Examples (Exemplar essay) @Love Learning Ideas
  5. Post Assessment Feedback @Class Teaching (no. 8)
  6. Micro Revision @The Goldfish Bowl
  7. Gallery Critique @Reflecting English
  8. Supported Redraft @Class Teaching (no. 9)
  9. Redrafting @Reflecting English
  10. Self Assessment @Teaching: Leading Learning

14 Strategies for Teacher Marking

  1. DIRT @Huntingdon School
  2. Self Assessment 2.0 @The Goldfish Bowl
  3. Post it improvement strategies @Love Learning Ideas (Teacher Marking Strategies)
  4. Feedback plasters @Belmont Teach.
  5. Dialogue Annotations @Love Learning Ideas (Teacher Marking Strategies)
  6. Improvement Grid @Love Learning Ideas (Teacher Marking Strategies)
  7. Colour marking keys  @3 Square
  8. Target symbols @Reflecting English
  9. Highlighting @Love Learning Ideas (Teacher Marking Strategies)
  10. Error marking @Learning From My Mistakes
  11. Burning Questions @My Learning Journey
  12. Digital feedback @ICT Evangelist
  13. Feedback using mail merge @The Goldfish Bowl
  14. Be wary of quick fix marking.  Warning @Teacher Toolkit 

 Play your cards in the right order...

David Didau rightly criticises triple marking here, which can be considered as the equivalent of the two of spades in your marking hand.

Consider instead playing your hand in the following ways:

I would suggest positioning DIRT (or Guided Marking Practice) BEFORE Teacher Marking to optimise effectiveness by:

  • Eliminating accidental errors and misconceptions before Teacher Marking, therefore reducing unnecessary feedback
  • Encouraging students to self-regulate automatically and independently

Consider using meeting time to mark books together to review the quality of the students’ work:

1 hour off marking time
An insight into the quality of work

‘brownie points’ from SLT for collaborative self-evaluation

How do I know which card to play...

Make your decisions blended on which card is best for student learning and maximises opportunity cost:

I have switched my decision-making from ‘what works?’ to ‘what is the opportunity cost?’ I ask myself: if I choose to use this... approach... does it mean I miss out on doing something else which is richer in what it offers pupils?” James Theo here

How will ‘they’ know...

  • If you are minimising feedback by improving Guided Instruction, ‘they’ will see this through evidence of process scaffolds that students have engaged with in the work
  • If you are using verbal Live Marking, ensure that students write down your comments in the margin with their feedback pen.  Personally, I prefer to leave the choice of colour to the student so they have ownership of the process
  • If you are using Re-guided Instruction, ensure that students annotate their work using their feedback pen
  • You might want to use a marking plan (only if it helps!) to track and evaluate your marking decisions:

Why less really is more when it comes to marking...

  • Live Marking is more effective than Teacher Marking during task acquisition
  • Live Marking prepares students for exam-writing more effectively than Teacher Marking by improving their ‘real-time’ self-regulation
  • 30-second Live Marking, which highlights errors, gives hints, asks questions or summarises is more effective than longer feedback that gives students the answers
  • Simple task or process feedback is more effective than longer, complex feedback
  • Mastery learning is more effective when students focus on eliminating 1 or 2 mistakes at a time
  • Re-guided Instruction is more effective than Teacher Marking where the success rate is below 80%
  • Too much over-minute task feedback directs students’ attention below the level needed for high performance
  • Guided Marking is more effective than Teacher Marking in developing effective learner self-regulation, which adds 8 months to average student progress
  • Correcting students’ work for them and writing lengthy comments is less effective than summarised feedback: highlighting errors and marking codes which force students to think about and engage with their errors 

Find out more on the pedagogy behind effective marking here

If you would like to use the pictures above as a Powerpoint they can be found here

Posted on December 6, 2014 .