Department for Education Marking

It will come as no surprise that the latest survey conducted by the Department for Education concluded that the three biggest areas that can lead to unnecessary workload are:

  • Marking
  • Planning
  • Data Management

In the DfE’s latest press release, a video was published explaining how the department is working with the profession, the teaching unions, Ofsted and others to reduce unnecessary teacher workload. During the video, Kevan Collins from the Education Endowment Foundation, when talking about marking, stated that feedback should not be about teachers completing ‘onerous, endless marking […] afterschool’ but instead about using the feedback to ‘give pupils the best opportunity to make progress’.

It is easy to say, less easy to accomplish. However, this one marking sheet may be able to improve feedback whilst saving teachers hours of time and with Ofsted stating that they only judge how closely teachers adhere to the school’s marking policy, it can be used even when Ofsted are looming.

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This sheet is designed to be placed next to the books which teachers are marking to record misconceptions and brainstorm actions for pupils to address their mistakes and even extend pupils who achieved their learning objective. By replacing traditional in-book marking with this sheet, it gives teachers time to focus on next steps rather than marking being bogged down by writing down similar feedback in thirty books after every lesson. This means that each lesson can be ‘marked’ using half a sheet of A4 and the time saved can be used to devise the most appropriate next steps for pupils.

Here’s what it looks like:

Marking Sheet Guide One Page Marking

Here’s how it works:

  • Write down the date and the subject – this is so that you can demonstrate that you have marked the books in line with your school’s marking policy to SLT and to Ofsted.
  • Jot down the learning objective – this may be different for groups in your lesson.
  • Record misconceptions pupils are making in the ‘Misconceptions’ box. This should be done as you read through the books so that you can record any mistakes pupils are making, collate that information and design an action which addresses these misconceptions. It is often useful to note down the name of the pupil(s) to whom you would like to deliver verbal feedback next to the misconception.
  • Actions – this is the most important box. In this box you should come up with ideas for actions you can take to address the misconceptions of pupils. Examples include: individual verbal feedback; group verbal feedback to be delivered by teacher or TA the next day; a revisit of the objective during the start of next lesson; dedicating a TA to work on achieving the objective with a target group the next day; set homework relating to the objective; add the objective to an intervention plan for pupils to take part in or even plan an additional lesson on the objective if the majority of pupils did not achieve the objective.

Suggestion: Writing a question/task for each group to complete in their book following the action you have taken demonstrates clearly that you have addressed and resolved their misconceptions. This task can be written on the board rather than being written repeatedly in their books to save time and ensure that they have responded appropriately to their feedback.

  • Add to the sheet what actions you are going to take for the pupils who have achieved the objective (this may be the majority of your class) to the next box labelled ‘How to extend pupils who have achieved the objective’. This could be a mastery question in Maths or a SPaG based task in Literacy which extends upon their learning objective.
  • Finally, the ‘other’ box is for additional comments about their work. For instance, you may want to talk to a pupil about their presentation, ask them to complete their work or even use a piece of work as a good example to show to the class using a visualiser.

This sheet and attached guideline enables teachers to spot reoccurring errors, foci for next lessons, plan interventions, assess where pupils need to spend more time and reduces workload significantly.

If you think this could work, have tried this method or have any suggestions for improving the document, please comment and share.