What You Need to Know About School Marking

If you’re a teacher, you know that marking has become one of the biggest challenges in the profession. Indeed, the NUT’s 2015 survey found that teachers were most likely to quit the profession because of the amount of work they had to do, with marking cited as one of the main reasons.

In the new Ofsted framework, marking, assessment and feedback are part of the ‘quality of teaching’ judgment, which means that schools must ensure they have a system in place to advance pupil progress by scrutinising pupils’ work. This includes marking, giving actionable advice and assessing learning from homework and tests. However, many teachers find that their school marking manchester policy is causing them more problems than it solves. For example, there are concerns about the quantity of marking, how much time it takes up and whether or not it actually improves student outcomes.

The most important thing to understand is that there’s no single answer on how much or what type of marking should take place in a school. This is something for the individual teacher to decide through their assessment policies, and it can vary across subjects and age groups. However, Ofsted does expect to see consistent marking and feedback that is focused on advancing pupil progress. This could include written or oral feedback, but it should be clear that the majority of marking and feedback comes from teaching in class and working with students on their work.

What is more, a school’s mark scheme must be fair and reasonable to all staff, as well as the wider community. This means it should be based on a set of clear criteria, for example, clarity, creativity, rigour and thoroughness. The criteria can then be translated into a set of grading bands such as excellent (A-level), good (B-level), average (C-level) and poor or unacceptable work (D-level).

Another crucial factor is that teachers should try to limit the number of comments or notations on a piece of work. This is not to avoid providing feedback but rather to make sure that they’re only commenting on the aspects of their student’s work that matter. Having too much feedback can be confusing and distracting, as the students may focus on the overall grade and not how they performed in that area.

It is also important that a school’s marking policy does not make a fetish of written marking. This can be problematic because the research on teacher workload shows that other forms of feedback are just as effective for student progress, such as verbal feedback, working with students in class and reading their work.

A well-written and implemented marking policy will strike a balance between effective marking that moves student learning on, but doesn’t leave teachers feeling swamped by a huge task. This is how a school can satisfy Ofsted and help its staff feel able to keep their heads above water. Ross Morrison McGill is the founder of @TeacherToolkit and was recently named one of the ‘500 most influential people in education’ by The Sunday Times.