How many times have you taken that tub of books or assignments from the classroom to the car, into the house, back to the car, back to the classroom and still not completed the marking?
In your search for a balance between home and work, improved marking strategies could give you more flexibility and time… time that could be better spent doing other things!
We mark students work to:
- See if they understand the task
- See if they have met the learning intention
- Check that they have completed the task
- Provide useful feedback
- Motivate and engage students
Consider using the following tips to reduce your marking time, increase the effectiveness of your feedback and have the students contribute to ‘closing the gap’ between where they are and where they need to be.
After all, the purpose of feedback is for students to become more aware of improving their own learning and to take responsibility for that improvement.
1. Use symbols to indicate certain points that you may be making e.g. use a plus sign when a student needs to give more information. Use a code to indicate the most prevalent comments (praise, indicators, improvement suggestions) you use for student work. Have the guide stuck in the front of their books for them to refer and use.
2. Have a focus for your marking and let students know in advance what you are going to be marking. In other words, don’t mark everything every time. Read more on effective marking here.
3. Reward students. Everyone loves stickers from kindergarten up. I met a teacher who was using stickers for her Year 12 students and they loved it!
4. Use different coloured pens to indicate the level of work e.g. green for well done, orange for needs work and red for needs to be redone.
5. Peer marking. Teach students to mark each other’s’ work using assessment criteria. Ensure that work marked by students is clearly noted and signed by the student. A teacher I know uses 3 before me in this way. Students must have their work checked by 3 sources before it gets to the teacher. This is usually most effective if more than one student checks the work and students can learn a great deal from critiquing each other.
6. Peer comment. Use the ‘kind, specific, helpful’ mantra for students to provide feedback to others. Read more here.
7. Use self-assessment in the same way. Explicitly teach students to assess their own work and provide opportunities for them to do so before they hand work to you. The teacher assesses the work after the student has made comments and adjustment. Teach students how to effectively proof read and edit their own work.
8. One on one conferencing. Set students to independent work in class while you conference with each student to discuss and expand on written feedback.
9. Swap and mark. Where appropriate have students mark each other’s work in class reducing the amount of time you need to spend on each piece and it also has the advantage of immediacy which increases effectiveness.
10. Use shared technology spaces e.g. Google docs where students can post assignments giving the teacher access to work in progress.
11. Check drafts. Have students submit drafts of their work during the process rather than simply the finished product. In this way you can give them feedback while they are working on the task, reducing the amount of work you will need to do once the assignment is completed. Give students templates to follow that demonstrate their thinking along the way. Ensure that the process is about improvement, not about a grade.
12. Use examples of work to critique as a class. For more effective and efficient ways to mark see here.
What are some of your best tips for marking?