Effective marking practices

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Category: News

Could teachers mark less but mark smarter?
Dr Victoria Elliott, Professor Jo-Anne Baird, Dr Therese N Hopfenbeck, Dr Jenni Ingram, Dr Ian Thompson, Natalie Usher and Mae Zantout (OUDE) together with James Richardson and Robbie Coleman (EEF) have published a review of the evidence on written marking.

The report, ‘A Marked Improvement?’ is published by the Education Endowment Foundation. It finds that that the quality of existing evidence on written marking is backed up by few large-scale, robust studies. The researchers from the University of Oxford’s Department of Education identify areas where teachers need better information about the most effective marking approaches.

There are some clear findings:

  • Careless mistakes should be marked differently to errors resulting from misunderstanding. The latter may be best addressed by providing hints or questions which lead pupils to underlying principles; the former by simply marking the mistake as incorrect, without giving the right answer
  • Awarding grades for every piece of work may reduce the impact of marking, particularly if pupils become preoccupied with grades at the expense of a consideration of teachers’ formative comments
  • The use of targets to make marking as specific and actionable as possible is likely to increase pupil progress
  • Pupils are unlikely to benefit from marking unless some time is set aside to enable pupils to consider and respond to marking
  • Some forms of marking, including acknowledgement marking, are unlikely to enhance pupil progress. A mantra might be that schools should mark less in terms of the number of pieces of work marked, but mark better.

The report is available here. It can also be downloaded from the EEF website.

Media coverage of this issue:

The Economist 16th April 2016
Times Educational Supplement 29th April 2016
Schools Week 29th April 2016
PhysOrg 2nd May 2016
University of Oxford News 29th April 2016
My Science 29th April 2016
Education Business 29th April 2016
SecEd 4th May 2016
teachwire 29th April 2016
The Guardian 15th May 2016