Marking for accuracy: a labour of love?

I haven’t been teaching English for very long, in fact, I am just at the beginning of my third year.

I have, however, been in the working world for over 20 years, and it would be fair to say that I have seen just about every text type and writing style out there – until now.

Not until I started teaching did I realise that there are a seemingly endless number of ways to spell the most basic words, nor did I realise that I would need the Rosetta Stone to decipher some pupils’ writing – and I have almost convinced myself that ‘a lot’ is, in fact, one word!

I wouldn’t describe myself as a prescriptive pedant, but it is becoming more and more obvious to me that some of my pupils are going to really struggle in the world beyond school if I don’t help them to write accurately.

In order to help me in this endeavour, I have turned to a number of books about teaching literacy, notably by David Didau and Phil Beadle. Both books have helped to shape my ideas about teaching literacy and given me ideas as to how I can help my pupils, but there is still one question that I have been grappling with – do I identify every error?

What if I do, and the pupil’s confidence is destroyed? What if I don’t and they carry on making errors that will affect their GCSE grade – or worse, damage their chances of future employment?

I may be being a little dramatic, but I have known people to be rejected for jobs because of the standard of their writing. It is with this idea in mind that I have, perhaps, answered my own question. I feel strongly that if I am selective in identifying errors, my pupils will be lulled into a false sense of security, believing they are accurate writers – and this would be gross negligence on my behalf.

And so I have used the ideas gleaned from my reading and developed a Technical Accuracy Targets sheet that I intend to use for all year groups for every piece of meaningful writing, followed by the time to reflect and respond in class. I have attached it in the spirit of sharing and in the hope that it will save someone some time (please feel free to add to or amend).

This is a re-blog post originally posted by Michelle Perkins and published with kind permission.


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The Editorial Account of UKEdChat, managed by editor-in-chief Colin Hill, with support from Martin Burrett from the UKEd Magazine. Pedagogy, Resources, Community.

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