DFE – Teacher workload: Marking

During the NASUWT conference, the Education Secretary spoke of new measures regarding teacher workload.

The workload challenge survey generated 44,000 returns by teachers.

Three reports have been written under the areas of:

  • Marking
  • Planning and resources
  • Data management

The ‘reports make recommendations for schools, school leaders and Ofsted, as well as to the government’.

What follows here are some key points from the report on marking:

Marking: Eliminating unnecessary workload around marking 

In the summary, the report states that ‘our starting point is that marking – providing written feedback on pupils’ work – has become disproportionately valued by schools and has become unnecessarily burdensome for teachers’. The aim of the report is to shrink ‘the importance that marking has gained over other forms of feedback’.

Quality of feedback matters over quantity. Their summary recommendation is that ‘all marking should be meaningful, manageable and motivating’.

The term ‘deep marking’ is defined as encompassing ‘the terms dialogic marking, triple marking and quality marking’. It is thought that misinterpretation of both the messages from Assessment for Learning (AfL) and Ofsted requirements have resulted in a growth of deep learning. The value of oral feedback is noted.

A list of characteristics of ineffective marking is given including comments written in different colour pens, and the situation of teachers marking outside of the classroom such as at home at the weekend.

The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) is conducting a review on marking in order to provide teachers with research based evidence on which to inform practice.

Two challenges are described in the move to change practice:

  • Embedding the principles of effective marking in all schools
  • Challenging the ‘false comfort’ of deep marking

Describing what meaningful means in the context of marking, the guidance states that ‘marking should serve a single purpose – to advance pupil progress and outcomes’. While consistency and shared expectations of marking is important across a school, the guidance says that ‘each subject and phase should be able to determine the policy in their areas’.

Under manageable, it is stated that ‘the time taken to mark does not always correlate with successful pupil outcomes and leads to wasted teacher time’. Schools need to ‘challenge and review their marking practice’ with senior leaders taking into account the ‘hours teachers spend on marking and have regard to the work-life balance of their staff’.

It is made clear that feedback can take different forms: ‘spoken or written marking, peer marking and self-assessment’. Written in bold are the words ‘stop it’ after the sentence: ‘If the hours spent do not have the commensurate impact on pupil progress’.

The expectations of Ofsted are clarified in a box within the text, including: ‘Ofsted does not expect to see a particular frequency or quantity of work in pupils’ books or folders’ and ‘Ofsted does not expect to see any written record of oral feedback provided to pupils by teachers’.

At the end of the section on motivating, the guidance states that ‘pupils should be taught and encouraged to check their own work by understanding the success criteria’.

The guidance concludes with a table of recommendations for various stakeholders.

Here again, is the link to the guidance.


One Comment;

  1. Robert Butcher said:

    I do believe that system of marking will be changed and quality of feedback will win over quantity. Students need to realize the importance of marking procedure, with each marking they will receive certain statistics and feedback that will be a great motivation for them to change for better. Only quality marking matters not just regular and standard feedback which discourage students to read it every month. Quality matters! Same as quality is valued at http://domyessay.today/lab-report-writing/ by essay writers.

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