Aiming High @ HCC

Marking and Feedback for the school target group

What is the challenge?

Over the past 9 months Caroline and I have seen some great examples of marking and feedback across the whole school. The best marking has been where quality feedback has led to students using MAD time to make further progress. However we found inconsistencies in the following areas:

  • differences in the quality of MAD time across different ability groups
  • presentation is not always picked up on, or students are not always encouraged to improve their presentation - particularly in middle and lower ability groups
  • poor literacy is not always picked up on
  • marking everything - but this means the quality of feedback isn't as strong - do students read all of the feedback you give them if you mark every piece of work? Where is the time in the lesson to do this?

This forum was about overcoming these challenges and looking at ways and strategies that would help our middle ability groups value the feedback you are giving and respond to this feedback in a positive way that would push learning forward and help them to progress.

“The answer is not to ignore feedback, but to bring it to the forefront of everything we do in the classroom.”

We really valued everyone's engagement in the forum and there were several key points Caroline and I picked up on that I think we can look at focussing on;

  • Getting back to basics - ensuring students are fully aware of expectations in presentation, literacy & being equipped for lessons. This can be done by revisiting the presentation policy, checking equipment every morning, and highlighting literacy errors and giving students the time to correct them.
  • Possibly letting students know that their books are not just for them and that they might be looked at by others in and around school.
  • The use of visualisers in lessons could help to model "what a good one looks like" and "what a bad one looks like", and this could mean that all students had a visual example of what is the minimum expectations are.

These are just a few of the fabulous contributions made by staff who attended the session - so thank you!

Some strategies

During the session we went through a number of different strategies that could be used to enhance the feedback process and engage students in valuing the feedback they get so that it leads to quality MAD time.

Here are a few of the strategies Caroline and I had researched but the rest can be found on the teaching and learning website here:!tl-forum---marking-and-feedback-for-our/c1byq

Gallery Critique

Sometimes the issue with peer assessment is that students have to believe and value the feedback they have been given. If the quality of the feedback is poor then it is unlikely students will be able to progress using this feedback.

This method involves laying student work out on desks or around the classroom leaving students to move round and give feedback to each one. This method overcomes the typical peer assessment issues as students receive lots of feedback from different people allowing students to pick out the quality feedback. To show students what to do you could do a "what a good one looks like/what a bad one looks like" starter to show the types of feedback that can be given so that they have a starting point on how and what to critique.

There is an excellent blog post which explains in more depth how it has been used successfully in an English lesson. It also details some of the barriers with the method so these can easily be ironed before you try this out in your own lesson. Here is the link:

I particularly like the "be kind, be specific, be helpful" advice and the template on the blog as this gives student further advice about the types of feedback to give. See below for the template.

Dot around

Using "dot around" puts the emphasis on the students finding their own errors and correcting them. During a lesson you put a sticky dot in the margin to highlight where there is an error, it is then the student's task to find the error and correct it. This can be completed really quickly in lessons which not only helps to reduce the marking burden but it also encourages self-reflection and self-critique. This could be very powerful with our school target group as this encourages them to take responsibility for their own learning.

Sideways feedback

It can be difficult to check who is reading your feedback, which can be pretty annoying if you have spent precious time writing valuable feedback. Unfortunately this can lead to students not completing MAD time to a high standard which impacts upon their progress. By writing feedback sideways students have to turn their books so you can visually see who is really acknowledging your feedback during a MAD time session.

More strategies?

Remember there are many more strategies besides these on the teaching and learning website and if you attended the forum and try out two strategies and complete the evaluation form you can get an extra half credit towards your CPD.

Thanks to everyone who attended the session!