Mrs Humanities

Because I'm married to the job.


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My Marking and Feedback Toolkit

marking and feedback toolkit #feedbackNOTmarkingI think we all know by now that I actually love providing feedback in all shapes and forms. Over the past 3 years I’ve tried a large variety of methods to find what works best. Some methods are my go to approaches, a few I come back to now and then, others I’ve tried the once and binned.

feedback toolkit

I thought I’d share my top 5 feedback approaches that have become my #feedbackNOTmarking toolkit.

ACE Peer Assessment or the more recent take on it SpACE Peer Assessment.

This technique I use frequently with my classes. Often when students are working on an extended piece of writing  or a prolonged task I will get them to stop where they are (usually about half way into the task) and get them to ACE their peers work. Students will peer assess in purple pen using the coding system and write comments/questions at the end or in the margins. Once peer assessed the work is returned to the student and they act on the feedback there and then in pink pen. They then continue with the task and each time they make the suggested improvements, these could be anything from the spelling of a key work to the use of data as evidence, they do it in pink to clearly demonstrate the improvements and progress they have made in the remainder of the work. I usually use this approach with Key Stage 3.
I also however use ACE peer assessment with my 6th formers however rather than being carried out during a piece of work, students will peer assess at the end of an essay or extended piece. They are given time to act on the feedback before submitting the work as complete.

Marking and Feedback Grids
I use these in one of two ways. Firstly as a students work through an extended piece or assessment they are given the feedback grid as an outline of the success criteria they need to meet; as they achieve the criteria it is highlighted and discussions occur in relation to the next steps that could be taken to improve it. Depending on the age range and ability, sometimes I will write what to do next, highlight in a different colour next steps or give a specific task that will enable the next steps to be completed. The second way in which I use them are for the summative assessment of piece of work, I will create the feedback grid as a way of identifying the successes and areas of improvement for the student. Students will read and then reflect upon the feedback to identify their own targets and next steps to focus on through the next topic or piece of work. GCSE graded work

Double ticks, successes and next steps
This approach I use for formative assessment throughout the term. I quite simply single and double tick pieces of work. Double ticks identify to students that these are particularly strong aspects of the work and they have to explain through annotations in the margin or at the end why it was double ticked – this is in relation to the skills used within the work such as use of evidence, use of case study facts, stats and specifics and so on, rather than topic specific achievements. At the end of a marking session I will write a brief and concise comment in relation to their successes and next steps. Students will then act on the next steps feedback if it requires to so for instance a question to move their understanding on or to develop an answer they’ve given or it can be a target they need to focus on in the remainder of the topic again to move their learning and progress on. When possible I  also carry out double ticks as I walk around the classroom looking at and discussing work with students, usually we will verbally discuss why the double tick has been given.

Whole class feedback and feedforward
Sometimes it is not necessary to write diagnostic comments in students books, particularly in relation to everyday classwork so I use the whole class feedback approach. On a regular basis I will take a look through students books and record which students require praise for any particularly outstanding work, any students with unfinished work, any reoccurring misconceptions and SPaG errors and next steps that apply to more than 1 student on my feedforward sheet. Feedforward Book Look Record.png

I then use this information to plan the next sequence of lessons to ensure misconceptions are dealt with and students have an opportunity to act on the next steps. The whole class feedback sheet is shared with the students by scanning and projecting it onto the whiteboard. In the assessment of understanding section I RAG the students understanding of the work undertaken and those with in the Red section I deal with first in class to ensure their understanding is clear and their learning and move forward. I no longer display this aspect to the class and cover it up; this is just me to help with support students with appropriate in class intervention strategies. Students write down comments relevant to them. To find out more on how I use this, head over to my original post on it here.
Verbal Feedback
This is my most powerful feedback tool, my voice. Before starting an extended piece of work, a project or a summatively assessed piece we feed up by discussing the success criteria, what a good one looks like, what the mark scheme might want from us, what skills will be used etc. Sometimes we discussed work that has been similar in terms of the skills used and think about the challenges faced and how they could be overcome this time around. We do this verbally, usually discussing in groups, with discussion as a class followed by confirmation from me.  Students then start the work and are provided with verbal feedback as they work through it, this might be from myself or their peers. Simple discussions of where the work is going and how it could be improved. It’s timely and purposeful. Verbal feedback isn’t just given for extended pieces of work but also those little tasks, usually in the form of discussions of clarification. The last verbal approach is feeding forward, whereby students and I discuss as a class, individual or in groups the successes and potential improvements for future work, students discuss the challenges they faced and may then make note of their reflections in their books for future reference.

Well there’s a guide to my feedback toolkit, I hope this post is of some use to you.

What approaches make up your toolkit? Feel free to share your ideas.

Kind regards,

Mrs Humanities


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#LearningFirst 3 Pillars Workshop

This weekend I had the pleasure of attending and presenting a workshop at the Beyond Levels #LearningFirst Conference at Canterbury Christ Church University.

I went away inspired as well as with a sense of confirmation that I’m doing the right thing by my students.

3 pillars of effective marking and feedback

My workshop was on the 3 Pillars of Effective Marking and Feedback. I was lucky to have had a full workshop (with a few additional attendees not on the list). Whilst the majority of those that attended were from a primary background it was interesting to hear a wide range of perspectives on the why we mark, the problems surrounding marking and providing feedback and then approaches to it.

As promised these are my slides from the workshop, free for your use. Simply click here to download them from my google drive.

If you would like an editable version, feel free to get in touch.

Hope they can be of use.

 

Mrs Humanities

 

 


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Resource – SpACE Peer Assessment

resourceHaving shared ACE peer assessment, I was recently introduced to a step up on the concept. Taking ACE to SpACE simply by adding spelling to the assessment criteria thanks to Kim (@HecticTeacher) for the inspiration to step it up.

space-peer-assessment-1


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Resource – ACE Peer Assessment

resourceAs I’ve spoken about already in my last few posts is the role of peer assessment in my classroom. This is something I particularly focus on with sixth form.

I want them to understand mark schemes and understand the exam style questions.

In order to help with this I’ve introduced with them ACE peer assessment.

Quite simply students swap their essays or answers to past paper questions and carry out the following using the mark schemes:

They tick if they accept what is written, they place a small triangle next to a point if they wish to challenge something, then pose a question at the end of the piece of work and finally place an asterisk next to anything they think needs extending in order to get full marks.

ACE peer assessment.png

Students do not give each grades, only how many marks they think have been achieved before improvements are made.

Students are then given time to make improvements to their work based upon the feedback provided by their peers.

I then check and give an overall mark for their work after improvements. However I keep a record of before and after improvements to demonstrate the progress being made following feedback.

Here’s a word and PDF version of the display posters I’ve created so I don’t have to keep writing it on the board.

What do you think of ACE peer assessment? Something you could use?

Mrs Humanities

 

 

3 pillars of effective marking, less is more feedback


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3 Pillars of Effective Marking (& Feedback)

During my presentation at PedagooHampshire16 in September, I mentioned the 3 pillars of effective marking that came out of the Eliminating unnecessary workload around marking from the Independent Teacher Workload Review Group report.

They were meaningful, manageable and motivating. I thought I’d write a post on my interpretation and approach to these 3 pillars and how I therefore make marking work for me.

3-pillars

Meaningful

I believe that for feedback to be meaningful it needs to be suitable for the age group, needs provide students with something to act upon and given within a suitable time frame.

Therefore I find it hard to encourage teachers to mark after a set period of time, the sooner a student receives feedback on their work the sooner they can respond to it effectively. Leaving work 4 lessons or so before it is marked quite simply gives students time to forget. Now I’m not saying mark every piece of work after every lesson, no way, but choose pieces of work that you want students to have time to improve on before it is given summative feedback. This could be an extended piece of writing, an assessment or DME for instance; something that can generally be done over two or more lessons.

In order to make this manageable for myself I’ve used feedback grids in the past, whereby I’ve given feedback in lessons to as many as possible through verbal discussion and highlighting achieved criteria on the grid and identifying what I’d like students to focus on for the remainder of the lesson to improve their work. Thus leaving me with fewer books to check at the end of the lesson. I’ve then used 20 minutes or so before my next lesson with the students to finish marking any books I didn’t get to see in the lesson. I then used the criteria to give whole class feedback and individual in the next lesson before students went onto make improvements to their work.

Nowadays I’m making use of the Feedback-Feedforward approach and have been using Feedforward Book Look Record Sheets – quite simply I have looked through books, noted down any reoccurring misconceptions  and areas for improvement and feeding back to students at the start of the next lesson. I’ve quite simply been putting a code in students books and they have then written the corresponding comment in their books and responded to it. Thus ensuring they are reacting to feedback immediately rather than weeks or even months later in some cases I’ve seen.

One strategy I use in class to make marking meaningful is the use of peer-assessment within lessons, ensuring students time to act upon it there and then, therefore don’t leave peer assessment until the end of a task or end of a lesson. Get students into the routine of checking each others work as they do it, start by providing meaningful suggestions on the board and as students become more confident in what it is they should be looking for remove the scaffold and allow them to write their own constructive feedback.

 

Manageable

I’m a strong believer that we as teachers should not have to mark everything in a students book, by that I mean glance over it in lessons and maybe out of lessons as well but don’t sit down and give feedback on all of the work. Carry a pen around the class with you, use marking codes as you glance at students work or use dot marking e.g. put a dot in the margin where you see a SPaG error. If a student wants a particular piece of work checked encourage them to highlight the work by putting a box around it.

I actively encourage teachers not to mark every piece of work, glance at it, note any misconceptions and plan following lessons to deal with any arising issues. Adapting planning in my view is far more effective than taking books home to mark, spending several hours marking them and creating a ‘visual’ dialogue between student and teacher.

Motivating

This one is probably where I fall down. I don’t provide ‘well done, you’re work is great’ kind of comments, my comments are very much about the achievements and ways to improve for example ‘you have effectively backed your explanation up with an example from the  text’, ‘next try to annotate your diagrams to demonstrate you understand them’.

In my NQT year I was told by a parent I need to be more positive about the accomplishments of his daughter, a few messages of well done, a sticker or smiley face here or there, would make his daughter work harder for me. So I started doing it for her, no surprise she was still poorly behaved and made little effort. And any way Ofsted praised my marking in both inspections I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing so…. I’ve not changed.

I’d rather give the well done, excellent effort etc. as verbal praise. In particular I find that using students work as examples for the rest and asking students what they think has been done effectively has far greater impact than me writing a well done message in their book.

Or if the student is perhaps quiet or doesn’t accept praise well, I will say to them one-to-one how I like that they’ve done this or that in their work and they’re putting in significant effort. However I will always then give suggestions for how to improve because there is always room for improvement.

And anyway I use loads of peer assessment, using the Kind, Helpful and Specific approach thus students receive some lovely comments from their peers in class. They are always forthcoming with praise, but are also kindly constructive with how the work could be improved. From experience I find students are more motivated when their peers are assessing their work, often apologising if their handwriting isn’t their neatest or they’ve made a number of spelling mistakes (why do they never do that for me? ).

Something I’ve recently introduced as a way of providing feedback is the use of a feedforward book look record sheet. As a check a set of books, I’ve been writing down reoccurring misconceptions, SPaG errors and next steps. The only thing I’ve done is books is double tick for successes and codes that relate to next steps, SPaG and/or misconceptions. I then simply scan the sheet and project onto my whiteboard.

I verbally go through the feedback and students write down the corresponding comments to their next steps and misconceptions. They then have 5-10 minutes depending on the work to be done to make improvements to SPaG and to react to the next steps.

In the praise section I identify what double ticks or single ticks represent in the students books and students work out what is relevant to them. I also include any exceptional performance in the task e.g. full marks, significant effort, major improvements. It’s motivating for students to see their name in this section I think.

In the Assessment of Understanding I put students initials using a RAG system. Any students in the red section are my main concerns, so I will check their responses to feedback first, amber next and so on. I’ve told students that this is nothing to worry about, but it means that I know who to check in with first of all. I think however over time this will motivate students to push themselves out of the red and amber sections and into the green. I am wary this could upset students however, so I don’t focus on it in my verbal feedback, I zoom in on the bits I’m discussing so most of my time is spent looking at the Praise, Misconceptions, SPaG and Next Steps sections of the sheet. If I find this to be demotivating at all, I will blank RAG section of the sheet out when I show the class.

 

Well I hope this gives you some ideas and something to think about.

 

Mrs Humanities

 

 

feedforward marking feedback pen colour


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Promoting Peer Assessment

As you’re probably aware by now, I do a lot of peer and self assessment, feedback and directed improvement and reflection time (DIRT) in my lessons.

For some time now I’ve had students use different colour pens to make their peer/self assessment stand out. In the past I’ve used what I’ve had available, usually a combination of red or green pens.

Often my students have had time to perfect their work, in order to do this they use a pink pen to highlight their improvements such as SPaG corrections.

This year my main focus is incorporating this across my Key Stage 3 classes, since I’m at a new school as of September, it requires embedding.

This is how I’m doing it

a) Firstly I’ve focused on incorporating peer assessment in lessons. In order to do this I give students a set amount of time on a task, when they reach the end of this time they swap books and peer assess. Firstly they look at SPaG and will identify any errors in purple pen using the following coding system.

peer-assessment-marking-code

I ask students to also give a kind, specific and helpful comment at this point to identify how the student could improve their work. To start with I give suggestions on the board, but hopefully I can remove this scaffold in due course.

b) Next step is perfecting what has already been done. Students will take a pink pen and make any corrections to the work that has already been completed.

c) Students then take steps in the remainder of their work to meet the target set by their peer. They will write the majority of it in their usual colour pen, however when they do the thing their peer suggested, they write this in pink pen to make it stand out when I mark their books. This speeds up my marking process significantly.

d) When I mark the books I take note of key points such as SPaG errors, misconceptions, praise and any other next steps I feel are appropriate on a feedforward book look record sheet. I give any misconceptions and next steps a code and write this in student books. I then scan the sheet and display it on the board. Students then write down the comments that are relevant to them and act on them during a Feedforward session (aka DIRtime).

So far this year they’ve simply done this in their usual colour pen, however I’m introducing that this is done in green pen after the half term again so it stands out to me when I mark their books.

In order to support students I’ve created this poster to identify relevant colours and what they represent and what double ticks and the steps represent in their books.

feedforward colours.png

I have to say that this method is one way my evening workload has reduced so far this year. The instant feedback and resulting action being taken immediately is far more effective than receiving my feedback several lessons later.

What do you think? Opinions welcomed.

Mrs Humanities


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Less is More – Marking with a Purpose

less-is-moreThis weekend I had the pleasure of presenting at #PedagooHampshire16.

What a delight it was.

I was completely blown away by the number of people present in the room when I presented on the topic of Less is More – Marking with a Purpose. Flabbergasted even.

Martyn even posted how it was standing room only…

For someone as introverted as I, this was a majorly proud moment. To be standing in front of so many people presenting on a topic I’m enthused by and be able to speak to a room full of my peers without the disco-leg going was triumphant.

The first time I spoke was at TMHistoryIcons, I loved it but nerves got the better of me that time. This time I felt confident, my confidence grew and grew as more and more people arrived. Marking is clearly a very topical topic.

Anyway I digress, the main emphasis of my presentation was that feedback should not equal marking. Marking should be used to inform planning, but feedback in whatever format is what’s important to help students to progress and reach ‘expected’ outcomes. Marking and providing written feedback should not take over our lives and that there are a range of ways we can assess learning, monitor progress and feedback to students to help them to achieve and still maintain a work-life balance.

I firstly talked through the rational behind the presentation which comes from the Eliminating unnecessary workload around marking from the Independent Teacher Workload Review Group. 

rationale

Next we discussed the issues surrounding marking were.

issues.png

Followed by the argument of quality vs. quantity.

quality vs quanity.png

I led participants into considering what can be done to mark less but make feedback more effective? A few ideas were discussed, particularly dot marking (see below) and school wide policy change. solutions.png

In order to give those that attended the sessions something to go away with I went through a number of ideas for marking, feedback and DIRT. Some you may have seen before, others are new additions to the selection.

dotgridsmatricmttwhole-class

My presentation finished with a look at the 3 pillars of effective marking – Meaningful, Manageable and Motivating. 3 pillars.png

There’s numerous bits I discussed that wasn’t on the slides, such departmental policies rather than whole school policies or the role of feedback in progress and marking in planning, so if you’d like to hear more feel free to get in touch.

Now for what you’re probably  looking for, here’s a copy of my presentation from the weekend. 

Please feel free to use it in CPD sessions and share with colleagues. Let’s promote a shift to #feedbackNOTmarking.

So in line with #pedagoohampshire, the one change I’m going to make is sharing my resources within my school community.

Mrs Humanities

 


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Resource: Feedforward Book Look Record

resourceFollowing my own presentation at #pedagoohampshire16 I’ve decided to try out marking crib sheets and whole class feedback in order to be able to check books more regularly but mark less since I want marking to inform planning as much as possible.

Following on from some inspiration from @MrThorntonTeach I decided to make a marking crib sheet which I’ve called the Feedforward Book Look Record.

The idea being that I will use the findings from the book looks for plan the following lessons. That way resources, activities and next steps can be catered for the class/individuals thus closing the gap sooner rather than later.

Feedforward Book Look Record DIRT Marking and Feedback

How will it be used?

Quite simply I will look through a set of books as I do I will complete the relevant sections of the record sheet.

Praise – highlight whole class and individual successes, make note of any rewards that need to be given.

Unfinished work – make note of any students with work that is incomplete in order to discuss completion with students in class.

Misconceptions – outline any misconceptions both individual and reoccurring misconceptions to late deal with during the planning of the next lesson.

SPaG – take note of any spelling mistakes that can then be incorporated into a learning activity, as well as any punctuation and grammar errors that are reoccurring so that suitable tasks or targets can be created.

Next steps – generate any questions or tasks that can be worked upon as part of the DIRT process, also highlight any particular skills I want students to work on in the work that follows.

Assessment of understanding – here I will simply place students initials where I feel their understanding of the work lies I will probably only write out those I feel are in the amber or red categories so I can focus on them in the following lesson/s.

And there you have my version of the marking crib sheet inspired by @MrThorntonTeach

You can download a copy here.

Mrs Humanities

 

 


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Need to Know Learning Matrix

learning matrixThis year grades 1-9 were  introduced into the tracking system for Key Stage 3. I struggled at first, in fact I still am, but the Need to Know Learning Matrix were my approach to tracking progress over the term for each of topics studied.

 

Not only does it allow me to track progress, outline Schemes of Work to the students and provide feedback, it encourages independent learning and reduces the time i spend marking and writing extensive feedback.

I started the year with simply listing need to know questions and success criteria but then realised that by coding the criteria I could provide quality feedback without the extensive write comments in the students books.

I simply use two different colour highlighters, fill in the key and highlight the coded success criteria. Firstly I highlight the criteria achieved in one colour, then highlight the criteria I would like the students to attempt in another; once this criteria has been achieved I simply tick it off.

matrix

I quickly l took to writing WWW and listing the criteria codes followed by the level up steps and the criteria codes I wanted the student to work on during DIRT. Sometimes I just write the criteria code with a tick to indicate it’s completion.

 

For lower ability students I may write questions to support them in achieving the coded criteria with a box to indicate the expected length of the answer.

level up2

If this has intrigued you can download my Need to Know Learning Matrix template here.

I’ve also uploaded a number of them on to TES, feel free to download and leave feedback.

Hope they’re of use.

 

Mrs Humanities

 


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Updated: Marking, Feedback and DIRT ideas

Marking, feedback and DIRT

After seeing a post on Friday about tip, think and challenge marking on TALK Bridgewater I was reminded of the resource I’d created with 15 ideas for Marking, Feedback and DIRT for a CPD session and was inspired to update it a bit.

So I’ve updated it with 3 new approaches and have included it here for you to download – 18 Ideas for Marking, Feedback and DIRT. A full presentation ready to go with links to the original source of any images.

Whilst I’m on the topic of marking, feedback and DIRT here are my top 5 tips

  1. Choose your assessment objectives – Remember you can’t mark everything so decide on what it is you want to assess before planning, that way then you know what it is you want to look for in your marking.
  2. Make it manageable – Yes stick to the school policy but find a way that limits how much you do outside of school and that puts onus on the students. It’s for their benefit after all. Peer and self assessment? Feedback grids? Marking stickers?
  3. Mark in class – Now I don’t mean sit at your desk and let the students get on with it, but when students are on task, read their work and have discussions with them about where they are at present and what they can do to improve what they’re working on. Feedback grids for extended pieces of work are marvelous for this, simply highlight achievements in one colour and areas to improve in another, simply tick off the improvements once complete.
  4. Make sure the students have time to respond – factor DIRT or reflection or whatever else you call it into you planning. It’s essential students have time to read, reflect and respond to all those hours of writing you’ve done. Make sure they spend longer responding to your feedback than you took giving it.
  5.  Experiment – you won’t find what works best for you and your students without experimenting a bit. I’ve done this hell of a lot of this over the past few years and have just about found what works for me and my classes. Although I will admit what works for one class doesn’t necessarily work for others; there’s certainly some mix and match going on.

Now I’m no guru when it comes to marking, feedback and DIRT but I spend a lot of time doing it, so these are just a few of my thoughts on the topic. What’s your approach to marking and feedback like?  Any other tips or ideas I should add?

Mrs Humanities