I’ve spent the majority of today marking. This is by no means a moan. Marking is the bread and butter of teaching. I tend to prefer the teaching part (the meat of the sandwich) and have not really taken marking very seriously until the last few years.
Keeping exercise books up-to-date can be difficult. Having spent much of the past term marking controlled tasks and coursework, some of my exercise books needed a real overhaul today and more will need serious attention tomorrow. I can now see, after over a year of taking a more rigid attitude to marking regularly, how beneficial regular marking can be. This has taken its toll on my planning and anecdotally my planning of those planning intensive high impact lessons seems to have diminished.
Where does the balance lie? Or are we doomed, as teachers, to be constantly contemplating our balance of these issues. In changing my attitude towards marking (via the edict of a new headteacher) I have also witnessed the benefits of well-prepared and frequent peer assessment. Already looking forward to next year, I can see now that some careful consideration and planning of assessment needs to take place so that my marking becomes more manageable and to ensure that it does not hamper planning and facilitating more impactful lessons.
At the same time I am also contemplating the every lesson approach of described here by Mr Benney. This is mostly due to what I have really felt is the benefit of regular marking and feedback: more specific differentiation and planning linked exactly to learners’ progress and understanding of work already covered.
Despite how all this may sound, I am not a novice teacher and did mark previously. Previously, I marked when I felt it needed to be done and focussed more on planning and creating resources to engage learners.
Marking is deservedly a bug bear for many teachers and I cannot say that it is a pleasure, as quite often marking entails the process of realising what did not work or was not listened to. I am learning to appreciate the importance of marking but always looking for ideas on how to minimise its workload. Peer assessment is already a weapon in the armoury and the RAG1234 approach mentioned previously will benefit my current practice in this area.
What else do people do to minimise marking whilst keeping it as frequent and high quality as possible?
Happy Easter (especially to those of us who return to the chalkface on Monday)