DISPLAYING ITEMS BY TAG: MARKING

If you are reading this, you are no doubt privy to the expectations heaped on teachers and school leaders about the importance of feedback in driving student success. If you hear the word “feedback”, and are haunted by images of lengthy, scribed comments that go ignored, much to your distress (how many hours of your life that you won’t get back?) and to the student’s peril, you are not alone.

Over the past five years, I have had some big changes in my life: I became a dad for the first time; I left my position as a Primary school deputy headteacher; I became an SLE in formative assessment; I set up my own education company with my headteacher... These changes were all massive, but the thing that has made them manageable for me was the smaller, more marginal changes I could make, all of which which contributed to the bigger picture.

With so many different assessment measures being used throughout Primary schools, we’re often asked to clarify the difference between them. So, we’ve gone back to the drawing board to provide some quick facts about two key test outcomes: scaled scores and standardised scores (because while both show performance, they aren’t the same thing).

Andrew Mulholland, chief marketing officer at Groupcall, discusses how schools can elevate effective edtech use and teacher workload to the top of the leadership agenda:

Whatever education setting you work in, the word “marking” will have a different meaning for you. For a lot of people reading this article, “marking” is the albatross of their teaching career; the one thing which can really impact upon a person’s well-being and, no matter how much we might loathe it, a fundamental part of our jobs.

If someone was to ask me what my favourite educational technology is, the answer would be easy: screen capture technology. I first saw the technology at the BETT conference in 2000 and I remember being amazed and thinking “This is going to be a game-changer”. I was right.

In the 1989 time-travel classic Back to The Future, the vision of 2015 saw re-lacing Nike sneakers (which would help many EY teachers), flying cars (petrol or battery run?) and hoverboards (which would definitely be my mode of corridor-transport).

Given how hard teaching is from time to time, it’s important to concentrate on the many positives. Downe House’s head of MFL discusses how to battle apathy and annoyance.

I do like my job. Of course, I do have moments when I want to pack it all in or plan myself a new career but those are normally moments at the end of term when I know that I am at my lowest point in terms of energy and creativity. It’s often at that time that I feel overwhelmed with my to-do list which I write out religiously everyday. There are even days when I have been too busy the night before to write out my plans so I will write it out after the events have happened so that I can cross out each achievement with satisfaction. Tell me I am not the only one who does this?

So, with all this negative press about teaching how could I possibly like my job? It is not easy to identify one particular thing. I enjoy many aspects of the job I do. I think most importantly I enjoy teaching and I enjoy thinking about how best to convey what I want my pupils to learn. I love thinking of ways to engage my classes so that they are motivated and inspired to learn. It’s what I feel is the creative element of my job and I know that I do have some good ideas. However, importantly, I also know that it is important not to reinvent the wheel. Inevitably, someone in my department or one of the lovely #mfltwitterati will have a great idea to share and so I never feel that the ideas have run out. I consider myself incredibly lucky in this respect. Creating is what I do when I have got all the horrid stuff out the way. Yes – there are elements of the job that I do not like. Marking. I don’t like marking. Well, I like it because I can see what my pupils have mastered and how well they have done. On the other hand, there is nothing more depressing than sitting down to a pile of marking or papers full of mistakes on the very grammatical concept you have just spent a week or so teaching. So, marking is something I do not enjoy. In fact, right now, I’m putting off marking…

Exam boards cite many benefits to exams becoming computer-based rather than using the traditional pen-and-paper.

Results can be computed almost immediately and with total consistency, and there are major cost savings on marking and general logistics to be enjoyed.

The question is, do students have the keyboard skills to cope with computer-based assessments? It would be a scandal if children were to fail, not on their lack of knowledge, but because they could not type their answers quickly enough.

When work is marked, it usually only includes a single grade with a sentence of constructive criticism. However, the benefits of using categorised marking ensures that the student is totally clear on where his/her strengths are, where they need to improve, where they lack understanding and any parts of the exam criteria that they have missed.

Using different colours or symbols will also ensure that students take more notice of specific comments as they are given a thorough analysis and a clear and plausible route for improvement. Who knew just one piece of work could hold so much insight?

Ah, the dreaded red pen. Students, parents and SLT often cringe at the sight of the red ink used by a teacher. Maybe because it's a symbol for blood?

I think it's more likely to be linked to the idea that teachers from a previous age would use just a red pen to mark work and would be likely to mark negatively; pointing out mistakes or circling poor work.

However, when a teacher marks their books now, they are usually (or hopefully) better trained into what marking works and what will benefit their students' learning.

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