The marking policy at my placement school has been updated following a visit from a school advisor who identified that the majority of written feedback consisted of phrases such as “Good work!”, “Well done”, and “You can …..(LO)” . While this reference to the lesson’s LO in the written feedback was part of the marking policy, it was highlighted that such comments are superfluous and do nothing to move on the children’s learning. The purpose of any marking or written feedback is to move the child’s learning on further.
- challenging questions
“Can you explain to me how you worked this out?”
“Can you tell me why this is wrong?”
“Why would the answer…. have been wrong?”
“Are there any other ways to work this out?”
“Is this the only answer?”
These comments in pupil’s books have been brilliant for encouraging deeper thinking, justification of answers, and extending learning.
It is crucial to plan in time for pupils to respond (meaningfully) else the comments are redundant. This could be done before/during register each morning or as a minute starter to each lesson.
Children may need an explanation as to what is expected when they are asked to respond. (many children like to complete this as fast as possible and so just write “ok” or “I will” next to a comment without actually making any changes to their work. A “red responder pen” or “purple polishing pen” may work well as an incentive for this and is something I would like to try out in the future.
Whilst I have tried and tested this in a Year 4 class, I expect that the responding to feedback may have to take a different format in KS1 as the time to write comments back would be much greater. Verbal feedback may be more efficient in KS1, with personalised targets attached to the inside cover of each exercise book to be referred back to.
To continue to challenge pupils through my marking and feedback and to resist the temptation to write too many comments which do not impact learning (I personally like to occasionally write “Well done” or “Fantastic etc. as I think they can provide encouragement and a self-esteem boost for children. I do, however, appreciate that this comment alone would not impact learning and that without time to respond, they are a waste of time).
To develop an ethos where it is standard practice to read the comments from the previous lesson and respond/ action any feedback.