Marking and Feedback
‘Marking should serve a single purpose – to advance pupil progress and outcomes. Teachers should be clear about what they are trying to achieve and the best way of achieving it’. (Eliminating unnecessary workload around marking, 2016)
In the 2016 report from the Independent Teacher Workload Review Group it was noted that written marking has become unnecessarily burdensome for teachers. Recommendations were given for marking to ‘be driven by professional judgement and to be “meaningful, manageable and motivating’ for students (EEF, Marking review, 2016).
Consistent marking and feedback across our school is important; at AGFS this comes from the high standards our teachers have in regard to progress in lessons, and the direct impact feedback has on our students' outcomes. Practice may vary from department to department, but all departmental policies encompass the six feedback standards as detailed below. These shared expectations of marking and feedback help teachers in our school to be clear about what is required of them whilst Heads of Departments are able to shape the standards to suit their own subject, ensuring feedback makes the maximum impact and is meaningful, manageable and motivating.
Teachers at AGFS do not respond to myths or fads regarding marking and instead embed effective marking strategies; these can vary from subject to subject. Senior leaders, as suggested by the Independent Teacher Workload Review Group, have challenged ‘the false comfort of deep marking’ (Eliminating unnecessary workload around marking, 2016) with an understanding that the time taken to mark does not always correlate with successful pupil outcomes and leads to wasted teacher time. A teacher should only write in a pupil’s book if it is going to impact on progress. (McCabe, DFE, 2018)
Acting on the findings from Independent Teacher Workload Review Group, our policy focuses on giving feedback in lessons using the following methods:
- spoken or written marking
- peer marking
‘If the hours spent do not have the commensurate impact on pupil progress: stop it.’ (Eliminating unnecessary workload around marking, 2016)
Marking and feedback should be motivational for our pupils encouraging them to be independent learners who always seek to improve their work and do their best. Writing in depth comments on student’s work or being universally positive has been proven through research to be ineffective: sometimes oral feedback or challenging comments are more effective and allow for more rapid pupil progress. If the teacher is doing more work than their pupils, this can become a disincentive for pupils to accept challenges and take responsibility for improving their work. (Eliminating unnecessary workload around marking, 2016)
The Aims of Feedback and Marking at AGFS:
• informs pupil progress
• has a positive impact on pupil outcomes
• is a good use of teachers’ time
Written marking supplements the extensive list of other methods deployed at AGFS to give scholars feedback:
- Group and individual verbal feedback in all lessons
- End of term revision, examination and refinement cycle for all subjects/years
- 3 x academic reports with next steps guidance per year
- 6 x basics reports each year
- 2 x parents evenings per year
- Target setting activities
- Annual form tutor overview report
- Peer assessment
The school will monitor the quality of feedback using a range of methods as set out below. Where feedback is of exceptional quality this will be celebrated. Where feedback fails to meet the required standards leaders will address this through LM processes or by using the Feedback Improvement Plan (FIP).
- PM observations
- Learning walks
- Discussions with students
- Department review of feedback
- Student panel interviews
- Department meetings
- Book reviews
- Pupil progress data
- Student/parent surveys
Conversations with student regarding feedback given in their lessons will place a great emphasis on finding out about the quality of feedback rather than looking at one discrete aspect of the feedback policy.
GFS Marking and Feedback Standards:
- Pupils will receive individual and group verbal feedback almost every single lesson – this will not be evidenced with gimmicks like a ‘verbal feedback stamp’ or sticker
- In all written subjects* at KS3 and all GCSE subjects at KS4, pupils will receive group or individual written feedback typically once every 5-6 lessons. This feedback is given on a high leverage piece of work that assesses progress in a wholistic way. These pieces of work are clearly identified in the medium-term plan.
- Books are not ‘ticked and flicked’ to show that a teacher has seen a piece of work.
- On-going feedback will be given in response to the presentation of students work. This could be given in written or verbal form. Students will have a clear understanding of what good presentation looks like in each of their subjects and will be rewarded or sanctioned accordingly for the presentation of their work. Department guidelines will include correct use of colour pen, underlining titles and dates and sticking worksheets into exercise books
- Termly assessments form part of the feedback cycle for all subjects in all year groups and must be kept in or with the books/folders and be presented for consideration as part of any review
- Pupils must understand, appreciate and be able to articulate how feedback is given in each subject – specifically, pupils must understand that feedback does not simply come in written form
- Literacy errors are addressed where appropriate. This does not mean teachers will correct every single spelling error – rather they will address common spelling misconceptions and key terminology in a variety of ways.
*English, mathematics, science, geography, history, MFL, Computing, Religious studies
**music, PE, drama and art
Each department will have their own department marking and feedback policy which encompasses all of the six standards stated above.
Elliott. V, Baird. J, Hopfenbeck. T, Ingram. J, Thompson. I, Usher. N, Zantout. M (2006). A marked improvement? A review of the evidence on written marking. Education Endownment Foundation. University Of Oxford.
Independent Teacher Workload Review Group (2016). Eliminating unnecessary workload around marking.
The Learning Profession (2017). Our Valuable Feedback That Supports Teacher Wellbeing. Available at: https://thelearningprofession.wordpress.com/2017/03/30/on-valuable-feedback-that-supports-teacher-wellbeing/
McGill. R (2017). Mark. Plan. Teach. Bloomsbury Education: London.
OFSTED (2018). School Inspection Handbook, Handbook for inspecting schools in England under section 5 of the Education Act 2005.
OFSTED (2018). OFSTED Inspection: myths. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-inspection-handbook-from-september-2015/ofsted-inspections-mythbusting
Pragmatic Education (2015). Marking is hornet. Available at: https://pragmaticreform.wordpress.com/2015/10/31/marking-is-a-hornet/
Reading All The Books (2014). Read exercise books. Available at: https://readingallthebooks.com/2014/11/15/reading-exercise-books/
Reading All The Books (2016). Giving Feedback the ‘Michaela’ Way. Available at: https://readingallthebooks.com/2016/03/19/giving-feedback-the-michaela-way/
Thornton (2016). Marking Crib Sheet. Available at: https://mrthorntonteach.com/2016/04/08/marking-crib-sheet/