Reducing Time Spent On Marking

THIS may help some teachers to reduce the time spent marking student work. My timetable at the moment has 11 different classes where I have between 23-30 students in each. It dawned on me a while back that I was spending way too much time writing out the same information over and over again. I decided to come up with a system to ensure that I wrote less, the students worked harder and that they thought more deeply about their learning in order to make further progress.

THIS is my system;

  1. For every period of work that needs marking I create a list of codes that represent mistakes that have been made within the period of time since the book was last marked. The codes will also give learners the opportunity understand how they can make further progress. This is a Year 7 marking code that I recently created. This takes only a few minutes and often develops as I mark the books depending on the need of the group.markingcodesimage
  2. I then get each student to write out the comment/question using the code that has been placed in their books (green pen = teacher, red pen = student). This will ensure that while they are writing the comment/question they are also thinking about what it says more deeply than just skim reading it.
  3. Students then respond to the question that has been set (EBI). This will mean that the student is either correcting some work that was wrong or commenting themselves on how they can achieve the higher stage in learning.
  4. Completing marking this way ensures that I cut down my time marking and the students are given more thought time to think how they will approach the task of improving their work.
  5. The two examples, shown below, are from a middle-‘ish’ Year 7 set and these students are middle-‘ish’ based on ability.markingimage3markingimage2
  6. After the students have responded at the start of the lesson, I will then go around and check that the response is appropriate for their ability. This is usually carried out while students are completing the next learning activity. It further allows additional formative verbal dialogue between myself and the student.

Finally; THIS is a comment from Sean Harford (HMI National Director Education) again making it clear to inspectors that Ofsted do not look for any particular type of marking frequency. This update has been published to try and ensure that inspectors and schools are aware that marking quantity or depth is NOT proven to raise standards.

‘I remain concerned that we continue to see some inspection reporting which gives the impression that more detailed or more elaborate marking is required, or indeed that it is effective in promoting pupils’ achievement. Inspectors must not give the impression that marking needs to be undertaken in any particular format and to any particular degree of sophistication or detail… there is remarkably little high quality, relevant research evidence to suggest that detailed or extensive marking has any significant impact on pupils’ learning. So until such evidence is available, and regardless of any area for improvement identified at the School previous inspection, please do not report on marking practice, or make judgement on it, other than whether it follows the school’s assessment policy’. (Ofsted, School Inspection Update, November 2016 | Issue 8)


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