An incredibly brief guide to time saving marking and feedback

As teachers marking work and providing feedback our aim is to ensure 2 things

  1. That we deliver good and useful feedback that helps students to improve
  2. That we do this without it taking over the rest of our lives – we have time and energy for planning and our lives outside college

Assuming that the work set has to be marked (not all of it does) and assuming that it has to be marked by you (not all of it does – peer marking can be used) the following are a range of useful strategies that I have discovered or seen used by others over the years. Some come courtesy of @mrsHumanities (Victoria Hewett) whose excellent session on time saving feedback I attended at #pedagooHampshire16

  1. Live marking/verbal feedback – if the class is suitably compliant and small it may be possible to get around and mark the work with the student sitting next to you. There is evidence that verbal feedback can be more effective than written. As I ‘walk through’ their work with them I am able to explain how an examiner might think about that essay. I convey more than a few handwritten comments ever can. I encourage the students to take notes on what is said.
  2. DIRT (Dedicated Improvement and Reflection Time) If you have asked students to do improvements to their work it is far better that this is done in class with the teacher present to guide than on their home at home. If you have already seen it in class then there is no need to take this in.
  3. The self-marking quiz – It is possible to devise quizzes that test subject knowledge and embed them on the VLE or to use Socrative or Kahoot. Once they are set up (that’s the time consuming bit) they deliver great assessment for learning and can be used for several classes and for future years.
  4. Use the mic. – On many devices including the iPad there is a microphone. If work is submitted in Google docs or classroom, use of the microphone allows speech to be recognised and it converts to text. It is worth checking what is typed as the occasional alarming mishearing occurs
  5. Yellow Box Marking (via @teachertoolkit) – you can either draw a yellow box around the part of the work that needs attention or draw a yellow box after the work into which the redraft can go. The size of the box determines how much students are expected to write.
  6. Dot marking – (via @mrshumanities) Put coloured dots rather than comments on the work to which you wish to draw attention. You could even colour code them eg) red for error of understanding, blue for needs more AO2 etc.
  7. Feedback Grid – (via @mrshumanities) Hand out a grid or markscheme with the success criteria for the task in a table. Use two highlighters – one for things done well, one for areas to work on. Students can then visually see what they have done and what needs to be worked upon
  8. Marking Codes – There are probably 9-10 things that you find yourself constantly saying. Why not devise marking codes that are shared with students. These can be used to annotate the work freeing you to only write the key message(s) at the end rather than copious notes all the way through.

BONUS: As I am using the IDoceo App as my main markbook this year, I am able to as well as recording marks make brief notes on each piece of work. It is often 2-3 key words eg) poor AO2,  just to remind me of what the issues are. I am hoping this will help as we go forward so that future planning and intervention can be a little smarter.


Author: chriseyreteaching

Teacher and Middle Leader - worked in Secondary Education and now in Sixth Form College. Principal Examiner and Author. Interested in Religious Studies, Educational Policy, Teaching and Learning, Leadership and Teacher Wellbeing

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