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#ASEchat 120 How do you approach your marking

#ASEChat Summary 120 - 30 September 2013 hosted by @viciascience 


A vibrant discussion with lots of ideas and suggested sources of help, but scarcely a mention of OFSTED. The focus was on the quality of feedback between teacher and learners, just as it should be. There was some concern expressed about how much time effective marking takes (between 60 – 120 minutes per class set of books) and consequently the need to make the outcomes of marking work hard in terms of pupil progress, including as an aid to effective lesson planning. 

Key messages:

Schools should have whole school marking policies, and clear understanding of criteria by teachers and learners.  Individual teachers should employ strategies to ensure that pupils act on feedback given. 

Key tips:

Use coloured pens, stickers and stamps to help make comments stand out on the page, and also to save teacher time. 

Further ideas and advice are provided below, in no particular order, and there are also links to helpful websites.


  1. Train children to become effective markers of their own work and that of their peers. The teacher then only needs to mark selected pieces of work. This will need clear and simple assessment criteria that all can understand.
  2. Provide colour-coded feedback – green for growth, blue for brilliant and pink for progress. Others use green for peer-assessed work and red for teacher assessed.
  3. Some pieces of work can be marked by a ‘tick and flick’ whereas others need more extended feedback. School policies often set guidelines for the frequency of marking and frequency of extended feedback. (Consensus on Monday was a maximum time interval of three weeks, but in many schools the interval was less than this.)
  4. Use a target grade stamp and ‘how to improve’ with key stage 4, and similarly with levels at key stage 3. @miss_m_w developed this idea to use feedback grids so pupils can check which criteria have been reached and  what they need to do to improve.
  5. Use an acronym to structure feedback. Examples include WWW (what works well), EBI (even better if), NS (next steps), PAR (praise, action, response) and SWANS (strengths, weaknesses and next steps).
  6. Use a stamp rather than acronyms to identify ‘what went well’, ‘grade’, ‘what to do now’ and ‘student response’. There was a lot of support for the use of a range of stampers to save time, even if they are expensive. (See links)
  7. The use of software tools can support assessment and feedback. Examples quotes include Socrative, SAM Learning, Edmodo, Kerboodle and AlfieCloud.
  8. Ask pupils to leave books open at the page to be marked, and ask them to put their book on the red, amber or green pile according to how confident they are.
  9. If you write a similar comment on a number of books, print off stickers with your range of comments and tick the one that applies.
  10. Use your marking as planning. As you check through ask yourself ‘have they got it yet?’
  11. Set the work using a rubric, which can then be used as a mark sheet on which you can circle the statements they need to target. A similar suggestion was to set out five standard targets when you start marking. Write down the target number rather than the statement before asking pupils to respond.
  12. Put an A3 seating plan in a plastic wallet, and use this to write reminders of which pupils to see next lesson. The seating plan can be reused after wiping clean.
  13. Put a first aid plaster on the cover of the pupil’s book on which you want to add a reminder for further action. You can write on the plaster, and swap the plaster for a star when appropriate action is taken. 


  1. Access Hayley Thompson’s marking policy for ideas and examples of implementation. (Links below)
  2. Feedback should be two ways, so pupils need to have a chance to respond to comments, which can lead to a ‘learning dialogue’.
  3. Allow time for pupils to respond immediately after books have been marked, whether by teachers or by peers.
  4. Marking is more effective when there is consistency across the whole school.
  5. Verbal feedback is also important, but pupils need to keep a record of verbal feedback given. Some schools use a stamp specifically to identify, record and structure verbal feedback. Invest in a good set of stampers for the department.
  6. Use exit tickets, mark them before the next lesson and then get pupils to rewrite using the feedback provided.
  7. Use Facebook style ‘like’ and ‘dislike’ stampers to encourage reading of comments
  8. Reception class pupils can do a great job of peer review.
  9. Read ‘Embedded formative assessment’ by Dylan Wiliam 


From Hayley Thompson:

Hayley Thompson’s marking policy

Tick and flick marking 

Quality marking 

Verbal feedback

Peer and self assessment by pupils   

From Damian Ayscough:

The use of rubrics

Source of stickers