10 a day – making marking effective and achievable

I am rubbish at marking. 

Alright that might be a bit harsh. I am bad at motivating myself to do it.

I know it’s important to do it as the kids need to have specific and targetted advice on how they can improve if we ever hope that they can make progress. However, the thought (or worse the action) of sitting down with 28 books and a green pen after a hard day, if I am honest, repulses me. Normally by 3.05pm I am wiped out and I’d rather do anything other than sit there for two hours marking.

Unfortunately this meant that before Christmas my books were not as well marked as I would hope. They met the department marking policy but I felt that my comments were too brief and I wasn’t convinced the kids had enough to actually know how to improve.

So post Christmas I have begun a new plan. 10 a day. Instead of ever sitting down with a whole set of books I set myself the challenge of marking 10 books every single day. First off, this is hugely achievable. I set up the 10 at the start of the day and then every time I have a spare 5 minutes (before school, at break or at lunch) I can grab one and mark it, therefore by 3 o’clock I normally only have about 6 left. This isn’t too much to do after school and even if I still have the full 10 it doesn’t take too long. Secondly only doing 10 means I am not getting bored and actually give each book the focus and attention it deserves.

I’ve been able to keep this up for two weeks so far and it’s been easy. But it’s had a huge impact on learning in classes as I have felt that the students appreciate the extra feedback they get and are working harder as a result and this has literally been a minimal change in practice for me. I’ve been banging on about it so much at school I’ve nearly sold a few others on the idea too! Try it out and let me know how it goes.

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3 Responses to 10 a day – making marking effective and achievable

  1. Pingback: Links to blog posts about marking and feedback | engchatuk

  2. Heidi Naylor says:

    I began that approach many years ago as a consequence of SATs and GCSE examiner marking. I could only ever fit in 5 papers at any given sitting. This worked for me and it made sense that I should use the same approach with exercise books. Breaking jobs into achieveable bite-sized portions is the only way I survive. It really DOES work.

  3. I have found marking student work to be very time consuming. In 2011, I organized a team of 100 graders to evaluate 5,000 exams, each consisting of 16 pages of short essay answers to math contest questions. Think of 15 photocopy boxes filled with exams. The paper shuffling and bundle pushing was a logistical nightmare. This led me to an idea and I am now building an online collaborative grading platform called Crowdmark. Crowdmark helps teachers, working alone or in teams, grade better. Thank you for your post!

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