12 Ways to Embrace Marking and Feedback

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There are a few days left before the end of term and this is one last marking and feedback blog before the summer holidays begin.

What feedback techniques could you use that make students think and take action?

Marking has two purposes. One, students act on feedback and make progress over time. Two, it informs future planning and teaching. (Read more in our proposed Mark-Plan-Teach policy.) It is a dialogue between teacher and student. Teacher marking should be something that students use to understand and try to improve; the aim of effective marking is to get students to engage with the feedback and then take action in order to improve their learning.

‘Should I be marking every piece of work?’ Absolutely not says @MaryMyatt.

“High quality, not truck-loads of ticks. Fewer things, done really well.

shutterstock_112331333 marking feedback Proofreader with red pen checks a transcribed page

Image: Shutterstock

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The following are 12 strategies that may help you embrace marking and feedback and most of all, help your students act on feedback provided.

Why not consider printing this table off below and adding examples of marking from your classroom / department / school and use this document as a CPD tool for sharing best practice next term?

Type of Feedback


1. Delayed marking  Student work is not given a grade, or score on the work (although the teacher records a grade in their teacher’s mark-book). Teacher written comments address the quality of the work, and give guidance as to how to improve. Students need to be given time to read the comments in class to find out how they have achieved. After some time (e.g. one week) the teacher talks with some students individually to discuss the work, the teacher feedback, and the grade or mark that was given to it.
2. Re-marking.  Get students to re-do a piece of work for you after a lesson focused on how to improve. Only accept the work if they have now scored a higher mark on it because they understand the feedback on how to improve. The Yellow Box is a useful methodology.
3. Mastery marking Only accept a piece of work when it is of a specific quality. You might only give one grade, an A. Students are expected to continue to re-draft and resubmit their work as many times as necessary in order to achieve an ‘A’ grade.
4. Responding to marking  Teacher feedback is written at the start of the exercise book and signed and dated. Students then make an appropriate response below the teacher feedback, including where to find any redrafting. The next piece of work will not be marked until the student has responded to the last feedback provided. (Is this sustainable on teachers’ workload?)
5. Student marking
Get students to mark their own work, and their peers’ work, using student friendly mark-schemes.
6. Colouring in Students are given coloured pens and are expected to highlight on their work where they have shown evidence of different skills according to the requirements of the mark-scheme.
7. +, -, = (Plus, Minus, Equals) Mark student work in relation to previous work. If the latest work is of the same quality as the last, it receives an ‘=’ if it is better than the last it receives an ‘+’, and if it is not as good as the last it receives a ‘-‘.
8. Focused marking Mark student work against one or two specific criteria, even though there may be many criteria that could be marked. This allows the teacher to provide more focused and detailed feedback on things. The teacher’s markbook contains the skill marked rather than the title of the work set.
9. Find and Fix Your mistakes Instead of marking answers as correct or incorrect, tell the students the number of answers that were wrong. Give them time in class to find and correct their mistakes either individually or in groups.
10. Margin marking Instead of marking each spelling or grammar mistake, put a mark in the margin for some of them for the students to find their own mistakes, and correct them.
11. Traffic lights.  Students are given a Red, Amber, or Green mark for a piece of work. All red or amber work can be redrafted in an attempt to achieve a green mark. The final grade is calculated from the number of Green and Amber marks.
12. Aim for the next level Students identify levels of improvement by comparing their work to exemplars at the next level or achievement. Students realise that they need to set themselves higher standards. Able students find that they can improve a good piece of work.
6. The 5 Minute Marking Plan
6. The 5 Minute Marking Plan


You may also want to try The 5 Minute Marking Plan? Designed to help you focus on the job in hand and help ensure you maximise your students’ learning and your own.


What do you think? Are there any other ideas you could use?


What examples / photographs of students’ work could you provide to match each example above? Why not use this in your next CPD session with colleagues …



8 thoughts on “12 Ways to Embrace Marking and Feedback

  1. Number 13. Share your ideas about the purpose of marking with pupils. None of the above is worth doing if they don’t value it.

  2. Simple but effective ! Thanks for sharing. We use LDQs (learning development questions) so students have to answer a specific question aimed at enabling them to put into practice the ‘ebi’ skills they have received feedback on to further improve.

  3. Great ideas but I continue to struggle with marking- 23 classes per fortnight. RS lessons I per week and P4C once a fortnight. Little enough time for content and continual redrafting etc eats into curriculum time. Any ideas gratefully received…..

    1. This is always tough for teachers who teach single periods and see so many classes. Something needs to give! If I could make one suggestion, it would be to build in as much peer and self-assessment into your lessons – disguised as curriculum content. There is no perfect solution.

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