Marking and Feedback

Aim:

“If I had to reduce all of the research on feedback into one simple overarching idea it would be this: feedback should cause thinking.”

Dylan Wiliam

At Brandlehow, all feedback helps children move their own learning forward.

Rational

To ensure that all children across the school have access to high quality, meaningful feedback, we engage with current academic theory on feedback and work together to draw on best practices across the school.  Our feedback and marking approach is based on the ‘8 features of effective feedback’ outlined by Stoll & Earl (2014).

Objectives

To ensure learning moves forward, we ensure that feedback and marking:

  1. Is clearly linked to the learning objective.
  2. Is delivered in age- and need-appropriate language.
  3. Is centered on the task rather than the learner.
  4. Gives cues at appropriate levels on how to bridge the gap.
  5. Is effectively timed.
  6. Is specific and clear.
  7. Offers strategies rather than solutions.
  8. Challenges, requires action and presents achievable strategies.
  9. Includes opportunities for peer assessment.

Feedback and marking

Feedback and marking varies across the school, depending on the year group and each individual child’s needs.  Though the methods of feedback may vary, the techniques are always based on the agreed principles stated below.

  1. Is clearly linked to the learning objective.

For the children to understand what they are trying to learn, they need to have a clear learning objective.  Marking should relate directly to this learning objective and not ‘surprise’ children by focusing on other aspects of their work.

  1. Is delivered in age- and need-appropriate language.

If children fully understand what they are supposed to do to be successful, they will be able to reflect critically on their own work, and that of their peers, to find out for themselves if they have achieved the learning objective.

  1. Is centered on the task rather than the learner.

There is a world of difference between ‘good job’ and ‘good boy’.  The focus of praise must be on the effort put into the task and not the child herself.  The ‘you’re a star’ feedback doesn’t tell the child anything to help them improve their learning and can produce the ‘fixed-ability mindset’, identified by Carol Dweck.  Similarly, criticism must be placed on the task, not the child, with clear pointers to help the child improve their work.

  1. Gives cues at appropriate levels on how to bridge the gap.

Finding the right strategy to help children will vary from child to child, depending on the type of learner they are and the level of understanding they already have.

Shirley Clarke suggests three different types of prompt:

A reminder prompt;

Most suitable for the more-able child. It reminds them of what could be improved.

‘Say more about……..’

A scaffolded prompt;

Most suitable for children who need more structure than a simple reminder.

A question – Can you describe how this person is a good friend?

A directive – Describe something that happened which showed you were a good friend.

Unfinished sentence- He showed me he was a good friend when….

 

An example prompt;

If a child is really struggling with a concept, an example and then a choice of answers to help them latch onto the new learning is offered.

He is a good friend because he never says unkind things about me.

My friend is a good friend because he is always nice to me.

 

 

  1. Is effectively timed.

Feedback should be a medical diagnosis and not a post-mortem; we can do something about a diagnosis.  The best type of feedback is oral and immediate, particularly for younger children and those struggling to understand concepts; they may need rapid, corrective feedback to keep them on-track.  If marking is left for too long, it is no longer relevant to the learning.

  1. Is specific and clear.

The following is a list of phrases that are unhelpful:

Good work/Very poor/Keep trying harder/Please try harder to improve spelling and neatness/If you need help, ask/Concentrate 100% - check words.

Comments need to meaningful and clear so the children understand what it is they need to do to move their learning on.  The following are useful ways to frame comments:

I really like the way you…

You have worked hard on… You have improved…

Next time you do this type of writing…

A good target for next time might be…

What do you think you could do next?

You now understand how to…

Comments also need to be legible so that the children can read them!

  1. Offers strategies rather than solutions.

'Any feedback that gives the correct answer, without explaining why is just about guaranteed to set learning back.' (Stoll & Earl)

The process and self-regulation of feedback is critical.  Children need to be able to reflect on their work and feel encouraged to think about how to get the right answer.  Too much ‘teacher talk’ (be it written or verbal) will impede the child’s ability to reflect on their work.

  1. Challenges, requires action and presents achievable strategies.

The purpose of feedback is that it makes us think; ‘well done’ and ‘poor work’ offer nothing challenging.  Children need to feel good about their work and understand what they are doing well.  Pointing out successes in children’s work is critical to their understanding of the learning, and them as a learner.  Feedback must also present an achievable challenge to which children can return.  Time must be given for children to return to their work and respond to feedback.  Below are some phrases by Shirley Clarke that could be used to support and challenge children.

 

SCAFFOLDING

Could you have calculated the answer in fewer steps?

Will this work with other numbers?

Is there a quicker way of doing this?

Is this a reasonable answer? Why?

How could you check your answer?

How could you use this method in another way? What have you learned from doing this?

Reread and underline your main ideas

EXTENDING THINKG

So, two different numbers are…?

So, two ways of adding 10 would be….?

1.87 is between ___ and ____

Write five other words with the letter sequence – ough

 

SELF CORRECTION

Can you see where you’ve made a mistake?

I made the answer 17. Am I right? Why?

Can 600 + 600 = 120?

Two of your answers are incorrect. I challenge you to find out which and put them right

Three of these are incorrect. Which are they?

There are four sentences in your paragraph: mark them with a full stop

EXPLANATIONS

Explain how you know…..(the rule) here

Will 50 be in the sequence? How do you know?

How do you know 81 is a multiple of 3?

Explain how you know 6x6 can’t be 35

What tips would you give someone who’s learning to…

What’s the quickest way to…?

Next time you write, do a plan in sections and have a paragraph for each

 

  1. Includes opportunities for peer assessment.

An important feature of children’s self-reflection skills is being able to assess not only their work, but that of their peers.  Children need to be provided with regular opportunities to peer assess to deepen their understanding of a task’s success criteria and to receive valuable feedback from someone other than the class teacher.  Clear guidance on how this is done is needed and the way in which it is recorded will vary across the year groups.

Monitoring

It is expected that all teachers’ comments in books will be done in a green pen; all children’s editing and comments will be in red pen or red pencil (depending on the year group); and, all peer-assessed marking will be done in black pen or black pencil.

At Brandlehow we highly value the continuous verbal feedback and dialogues that we hold with the children: where possible, a note of verbal feedback will be made on the children’s work to show that learning has been moved on.

The quality of marking across the school will be scrutinised during the Senior Leadership Team’s termly book looks  Moderation and the sharing of best practice across the school takes place once a term during designated staff meetings.