Sunday, 19 February 2012

How to avoid marking...

Last day of the holidays and suddenly the importance of tidying the house, doing that DIY job and shopping... ANYTHING to avoid marking...has gone through the roof. This time I also have the added distractions of an ipad and a blog! Those Controlled Assessments are calling my name, but they will just have to wait. I'll do them this afternoon.

And the good news is that I can. Rather than the first draft coursework nightmare, CA marking for the benefit of a moderator is breeze. For two reasons: firstly, because I only have to decide a mark out of 15 rather than 54, and secondly, because I don't have to worry about constructive feedback for students to improve their work in a second attempt at the same task. After all, why would you want students to improve?

Seriously, after years of desperately trying to ignore huge piles of marking lurking in dark corners of the house, I have devised several useful ways of cutting down the workload significantly and making sure I am focusing on AfL:

Photocopy the mark scheme for each essay and use a highlighter.

Rather than writing the same comment 32 times, create a cover sheet of the mistakes students commonly make for each type of assessment and tick as you go (I try to write a personal positive comment though).

Give the feedback separately, either on a different sheet of paper, or
projected, and get the students to match the comments to the essay. I love this one - and so do Ofsted inspectors and AST assessors! I like to cut up the comments into strips and get groups of students to stick the comments onto photocopied essays where they are relevant.

Also, just because students can't re-do the same task, it doesn't mean they can't reflect and focus on the skills they need to transfer and improve next time.

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