8 ways to make marking manageable

Posted on Monday, March 11, 2019 by Social Media5 comments

Read below for some tips from Ed Davis, on how to avoid over-marking. He notes that by following these tips he feels less overworked and overwhelmed and also has the time to spend adapting lessons and supporting his children in different ways. 


1. Who are we marking for?

Ask yourself, who are you marking for? We might put a comment in a book because it looks good for parents or senior leaders during parents’ evening and book looks, but does it help the children learn? Is it beneficial for them? Make marking meaningful, not unmanageable.


2. Find someone to mark with

A great idea that a few of us started some years ago were marking parties. Getting together with other teachers to mark makes things that bit more bearable. Even if you’re not discussing the marking itself, having other person to talk to whilst you do so can be a very welcome break from what can be quite a monotonous task.


3. Mark with the children 

Marking work ‘live’ can save hours and gives children instant feedback when they need it most. 


4. Prioritise

Most of us won’t teach every subject every day. Maths and English are my priority after school. For subjects that are taught once or twice a week, I will take the ‘little and often’ approach. A few books of each during a spare 5-10 minutes will mean that over the course of a week, I can get them marked with ease.


5. Highlighters

We use pink for good work and green for what could be improved. Rather than writing a comment, highlight what you think has been positive and what could be worked on. Arguably, this will be far more effective than an overall comment for their work. 


6. Mark with a purpose

Use the success criteria to help you. If you find yourself constantly struggling with what to write and feel that you need to write something, tailor your comment to something that the child has met within the success criteria. 


7. Mark with ‘The blue box’

I regularly find that what I want to write can more easily be summarised verbally rather than via a written comment. The teachers in my school have grown accustomed to using a ‘blue box’ to let children know that there is something in their work we wish to discuss with them. The book is placed in a box where the children check before going off to lunch. Other colours are available!


8. Regularly re-assess your marking policy

This is something that has been quite effective for us. A simple discussion about what we are doing individually as teachers and the impact we have seen can influence and help others to think about their own marking to make it more manageable. We still mark everything (well, most things), but the in-depth marks for us are only big writes. Most other things are simple marking using stamps, discussion with the children or very simple comments (unless there is something we feel we need to comment on).


Source: Teacher Toolkit

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