Session 117: Feedback: how can we make marking make an impact?

Session Title: Feedback: how can we make marking make an impact?


Date: Thursday 27th September 2012

Summary of the Session:

This week our #ukedchat discussion was all about feedback. The winning discussion topic was ‘Feedback: how can we make marking make an impact?’ As always, the discussion flowed freely, with educators sharing ideas and discussing what makes marking work.

[pullquote]Collate a list of targets/common errors made in pupils’ work and then assign each a number[/pullquote]One suggestion from @dukkhaboy was ‘Lazy Marking’, an idea which certainly appealed to me! The idea is simple, but potentially time-saving and effective: collate a list of targets/common errors made in pupils’ work and then assign each a number. Instead of writing individual targets at the end of each pupil’s work, simply write the appropriate numbers. At the start of the next lesson, show pupils the list of targets and they write the ones which correspond to the numbers they were given. Saves time and actively engages pupils in the marking process: a win-win. Jim Smith’s ‘Triple Impact Marking’ was also advocated by several contributors. See … for more details.

The debate over written vs. verbal feedback was discussed at some length. @Mr_SJS suggested verbal marking was a way of ensuring pupils received timely, high quality feedback. Others supported this idea but the need to demonstrate marking was also raised. Of course the point was made that, at times, it can seem as if our marking is more for the benefit of those scrutinising books, rather than the pupils themselves. Some teachers give verbal feedback and ask pupils to summarise the key points. This would seem to offer the best of both worlds; pupil and teacher have a quality dialogue but there is evidence in books of what has been discussed.

How to ensure pupils actually take notice and learn from feedback was also a topic of debate. @outdooradventu1 mentioned their tactic of colour coding marking: positives in green and next steps in black. This obviously makes it easy for pupils to see at a glance what they need to do to improve. @Monty_Math spoke about setting tasks for pupils to do within the feedback given; they then had to complete these tasks, thus showing that the feedback has been understood.

Peer and self-assessment were mentioned as ways of cutting down a teacher’s marking load. People discussed ways of getting pupils to engage with success criteria before marking, so they then understood what was being marked or what they were assessing each other against. De-mystifying the assessment criteria was also offered as a way of ensuring pupils can/do engage with feedback. @benniekara made the point that you need to be honest and avoid criteria speak or pupils will just ignore it.

[pullquote]Feedback is essential but time is often the enemy![/pullquote]Throughout the discussion the message was clear: feedback is essential but time is often the enemy. Not only do we find ourselves dedicated substantial amounts of time to giving feedback, verbal or written, but we then need to allow our pupils time to act on that feedback. In the current climate, finding that time to ensure consistent and high quality feedback is given can be daunting.

I’ve tried to select a variety of ‘tweets of the week’ to give a real flavour of the discussion. It was fast and furious but it definitely made me think. Personally, I’ve decided to give verbal marking a go.

On the day after our #ukedchat discussion, I decided to change my Year 10 lesson plan. Setting the class a task, I then sat with each pupil and marked their homework with them and we agreed a target and personalised homework task to help them achieve that target. It took me the whole lesson to speak to the group but I found it a valuable exercise. Spending that time with the individual pupils and discussing their work and my marking as I did it was illuminating. It allowed me to clear up some misconceptions and also offer some personal praise to pupils who often shrug off public commendation for fear of looking ‘uncool’. Could I do it every day? No, but it made me re-think my use of verbal feedback and i will definitely be planning this type of lesson more often.

I’d highly recommend a trawl through the archive of this week’s chat. It was a veritable treasure trove of good advice!

Notable Tweets from the Session:

@outdooradventu1: I colour code my remarks things they’ve done well in green next steps in black


@dukkhaboy: I believe #LazyMarking helps pupils focus on their progress


@jivespin: Feedback must be a two-way process to eb effective.Jim Smith’s Triple Impact Marking is great for this


@tmeeky: KS2: oral ‘just in time’ feedback is best. Never thoughtwritten feedback is really worth the effort. Looks good in bks but useful?


@Mr_SJS: Verbal Feedback has served mewell and continues to do so.


@CatherineRHart: need a shared language that is improvement focused – allows students to self assess


@smanfarr: Robust AFL – meaningful targets with opportunities for pupils to meet them and time for you to check they have


@Love2teach2012: I have found verbal marking with my year 1to be an incredible way to make sure my marking is effective


@TeacherPlanner: sound silly and simple but the one thing that gets a student’s attention every time…Use their name in your marking


@dandesignthink: make sure staff are on the same page with marking strategy, we introduced these punctuation tips for staff


@eslweb: I also have a series of stamps, students love receivinga stamp of approval. It’s also faster than stickers


@benniekara: we trialled standard assessmentstickers across the school – www and ebi and grade -but didn’t work


Tweet of the Week
It was hard to choose one tweet of the week. However I’m actively going to act on the ‘lazy marking’ idea that @dukkhaboy suggested, so this is my pick:
@dukkhaboy: I believe #LazyMarking helps pupils focus on their progress


About your Host
I’m Clare @dailydenouement, a secondary English teacher in Merseyside. I’ve been involved in the weekly #ukedchat discussions from the early days. They’re motivational and they make me think. What’s not to love?

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  1. I suggested this mug design! Literary gift company liked my suggestion and sent me a free one when they were made 🙂

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