In a move to tackle teacher workload, Schools Standards Minister, Nick Gibb, has suggested that teachers spend too much time marking and ‘work should be marked with a single grade.’
Many schools use a ‘deep marking’ or triple marking approach to display a ‘conversation’ between teacher and student. This involves teachers providing individual feedback; a student response to feedback and teacher response on the ‘improved’ piece. And a majority of schools follow the process of using different colour pens to ensure the ‘conversation’ is visible. The idea is to make marking meaningful and to ensure students actually read the teachers’ comments.
Nick Gibb however, has highlighted that, “It was never a requirement by the government, never a requirement of Ofsted.” The Ofsted inspection guidance itself states that, ‘Ofsted does not expect to see a particular frequency or quantity of work in pupils’ books.’
Assistant General Secretary of the Association of Teaches and Lecturers, Nansi Ellis, warned that giving grades only can cause students to ‘become preoccupied with their grades at the expense of teachers’ comments.’ And this is easily done when the students are just as aware that the education system focuses on their achievement and levels of progress. Providing individual feedback allows teachers to differentiate for their leaners.
David Anstead, from the Nottingham Education Improvement Board, expressed that everyone needed to ‘work together’ and agree that it is ‘all right to do less.’ But with such detailed marking now ingrained in schools across the country, and with it now seen as an expectation, will it be so simple?
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