A Good Going-Over! by @TeacherToolkit

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Children Talking Assessment Peer


Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit in 2010, and today, he is one of the 'most followed educators'on social media in the world. In 2015, he was nominated as one of the '500 Most Influential People in Britain' by The Sunday Times as a result of...
Read more about @TeacherToolkit

This is a blog about marking and teacher feedback.

“Great teaching equates to prior learning which is assessed systematically and accurately.”

We all grow as learners by receiving feedback; teachers or students.

Meaningful Assessment:

This is written for teachers, to make sure that learning is boosted in your classroom by assessing, testing and sharing success criteria with your students. This is not a blog about over-testing students. This is about planning meaningful and timely assessment to help students make progress.

Poster Quote @TeacherToolkit

Early on in my teaching career I was sometimes hesitant to test students in my classroom. I dreaded the marking it generated and found myself testing less and less because of growing marking piles! However, I soon came to comprehend the power of giving students ‘a good going-over’ and the importance of assessing learning and providing feedback. But at what point did everything change? What was my tipping point?

Cognitive Assessment:

As I young teacher, I never really understood the cognitive process of assessment, or the types of testing I was leading in my class. I cannot recall any explicit training I had at university, despite learning about types of assessment, I spent many years setting tests, assignments and providing endless lists of success criteria, without ever, really thinking deep and hard about what and why I was doing it.

Students are hungry to know how they are doing with tangible information. It is our duty to ensure we keep them well-informed. As adults, we have evolved and grown as learners by receiving feedback. This has come to us through a multitude of avenues and experiences throughout our life and by now, one would hope, we can filter and decipher information in order to use what is useful and discard what is not.

At school however, it is assumed that everything we are teaching students ‘is important and should be learned.’

But is this really the case?

I was a dormant learner at school. I have little recollection of my ‘learning’; but I was far more aware of my ‘grades’. The shift in focus from grades to learning is not a recent phenomenon. We hear the phrase ‘rapid progress’, ‘expected progress’ or ‘4 levels of progress’ constantly. But, we rarely hear about the importance of ‘why’ we are learning and ‘how.’

Thankfully, the cognitive aspects of assessment have become pertinent as part of our recent assessment criteria culture in schools. But do our students understand assessment better today, than we did yesterday? And even though we may have a firmer grip as educators/teachers?

Cast your mind back 10-30 years ago (if you can), and place yourself sitting on a chair in a school classroom.

1950 classroom

Combating Piles of Marking?

Teaching Tip:

Try using The 5 Minute Marking Plan to focus on what should or should not be assessed.

Take it Further:

Ask your students to curate their own self-assessment task for their forthcoming assessment. Give them a selection of options – offer choice and increasing levels of difficulty – so that they feel part of the process. You may want to look at TakeAway Homework and see a model as to how this could be structured.

You can read more here.


7 thoughts on “A Good Going-Over! by @TeacherToolkit

  1. Very insightful. As a trainee teacher it has really helped to give me a better understanding of the true purpose of assessment.

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