I have been asked to deliver some training in the principles of my marking and planning. Rather than create specific materials, I will have a list of principles below, and I will go through how I plan and mark with those that want to discuss it.
Below summary of my planning and marking
I mark previous week’s homeworks on 1-4 using previously set rubric criteria. Some students will receive more formative marking, especially if I see regular mistakes. Homework mark inputted into markbook on a 1-4 basis.
I will mark between 1 and 3 sets of books, too, depending on if the work had a rubric attached to it.
If work did not require a rubric, the students are almost always required to write:
a) What they learned.
b) A question to expand what they have learned (often supported by keywords on the board).
I will respond to the question in their book with either an answer, or a question too.
Planning – still Sunday!
Planning for next week directly is linked to the marking. All homework is set, for me, on the first day of the week. It is set at least two lessons later (for one class, this is on a Friday). Having all homework due in on the same day makes life much easier.
All starters for at least two lessons are sorted already – Monday/Tuesday is all ‘respond to previous previous work/question’ and Thursday (the day homework is usually due) is ‘self and peer-assess homework according to previously agreed rubric).
The ‘respond to previous work’ will require students to write a target based upon achieving the next level of the rubric (i.e. of how to move from 2 to 1, where 1 is usually ensuring the work shows evaluative skills). Those who achieve a 1 will usually have a personalised target if they work has exceeded expectations, or will be required to consolidate those skills if only just achieved.
At least one lesson a week will have a rubric attached to it (where suitable). The criteria for the rubric is similar across a scheme of work (usually ‘evaluation’ for a reading focus, and ‘variety for effect’ for a writing focus).
Library lessons follow the rubric’s emphasis for that week (e.g. character, or comparison, or genre have been recent focuses).
For each lesson space, I have the following headings:
Focus: This is what the lesson will return to should a tangent be found.
Progress: This is what will be considered measurable progress – usually something that I expect the students to articulate.
Hinge questions: Linked to progress, something that the students will be required to articulate themselves.
I might also for that lesson have specific timings attached, especially if there are several activities or a timed essay is to be completed. This shouldn’t be completed for every lesson, though.
Principles of planning – do as I say…
“Marking is interesting (i.e. bearable!) when it immediately informs planning.”
Patterns in students’ work aid planning (and proof of progress). For example, my year 10 class excelled at comparative/contrast analysis, but struggled taking it the next step to evaluative analysis. This led to an evaluative focus in all work for two to three weeks.
Not all work should be marked formatively.
Marking should not take more than 5-8 hours a week as a rule of thumb outside of exam periods (and except for weekly timed essays in KS4 and 5, which take anywhere from 3-5 hours each for one set for one class). This is a very loose rule, and is often broken. But you should have some kind of clock and limit for the sakes of your health!
Multiple questions on exam papers should be marked together to aid comparison and speed.
Students should be required to write a response to every formative comment, and should be chastised if not.
Students should be expected to write targets in their own language, even if it is clumsier than the teacher-speak of the APP grid.
The same resource/focus (i.e. varying paragraphing) can be completed with two vastly different classes with different outcomes.
Differentiation should not always be by individual task. Extensions should not always be ‘more of the same’ – evaluating best example of work completed, or completing own questions are useful and generic tasks for students to complete, especially if the class is to complete them later.
Cultural capital is not always planned into lesson, but should be offered judiciously for the interest of yourself as well as the students.
Sharing and celebrating homework and work in the form of extended interviews is always useful: at least once a half-term this should happen while students are occupied gainfully.
At the end of each half-term, anonymous questionnaires that are shared only with yourself can be completed that allow you to assess student perceptions. These answers can, by their nature, be immature and irrelevant. However, some can offer useful feedback to articulate your sense of the lessons. Such feedback should:
a) Be anonymous to the rest of the class.
b) Be only for the eyes of the classroom teacher.
c) Be focussed on progress and purpose, rather than notions of ‘enjoyment’.
d) Not be part of official policy in a school or department, but down to the individual teacher’s requirements.
e) Only completed if useful.