Back-To-Front Marking

In class we’ve been talking a lot about marking recently.
I’ve been trying to make my marking more purposeful and encouraging the children to use it in their personal target setting.

During one of our discussions a pupil made a comment that made me think about approaching a task in a back to front way.

I explained the task and, before they began, them asked them to help draft some marking comments that I might be able to use on a really good piece of work.

I guess it ‘s just a different way of getting them to identify success criteria before they actually start writing.
Think before you ink.

This was what they came up with.

This is excellent work because you have put your self in Pandora’s shoes. I can see how she feels during the story – good use of ‘show, not tell’.
You made some exciting vocabulary choices and I can see you used a dictionary.
You have used punctuation correctly and presented this work neatly.

Interestingly, this is the final revised version that we agreed on. Initially it started with the comment about presentation.
Sometimes it seems hard for the children (and some adults) to separate content from presentation.

Is neat work always good quality work?
Of course it isn’t, yet so often it seems to be perceived as ‘better’.

I’ve just had to confiscate a red pen from the cat – perhaps I could out-source my marking.20140213-204818.jpg

Traffic Light Trays

I’ve been using traffic light trays and cups for AFL for a long time now.

Initially I used them with the obvious criteria so that when pupils handed in work they choose which tray to leave work in

Green –  ‘Yes – I’ve got it and am confident I don’t need support’
Amber – ‘I am unsure about some of my work’
 Red – ‘I need help’.

Whilst it worked fairly well I became aware that some pupils were just putting their book into the same tray without thinking about what they were doing.
The whole exercise seemed to reinforce the ‘X is clever, Y isn’t perceptions that so many children have.

In fact, they seemed to have self-ranked themselves into a kind of ‘top, middle and bottom order and it very rarely changed.

I  decided to try and use lots of different criteria this year so I drew up a list of things we could think about at the end of a lesson.Traffic Light Marking copy

It’s been really interesting.

If the children have produced written work we use the trays, otherwise we use the ubiquitous lolly sticks and coloured cups.

I don’t use it everyday, but I think mixing up the criteria has improved the AFL in the classroom.

I spend a couple of minutes running through the criteria and making sure they understand

‘Effort’ is an interesting one – when I first used it two of my more able pupils sheepishly put their work into the amber and red trays.One even blushed as she sidled past me

Their actual written work was of an acceptable quality but it meant that when I was marking I was looking at their work in a far more critical manner.

The other one that has definitely had a positive impact is the ‘focused on my targets’. In order to assess whether you focused on your target you need to know what it is… always a bonus in my view.