10 Marking and Feedback Strategies

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In 2010, Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit from a simple Twitter account through which he rapidly became the 'most followed teacher on social media in the UK'. In 2015, he was nominated as one of the '500 Most Influential People in Britain' by The Sunday...
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What feedback techniques could you use that make students act on feedback?

There are a few days left before the end of half-term and feedback and marking will be required before the holidays begin. Why not try some of the following and avoid unnecessary marking in your own time.

Recently, I purchased The Sketchnote Handbook: The Illustrated Guide to Visual Notetaking by Mike Rohde; sourced to help develop my blogs and tweets into content that is more interesting and engaging for everyone. Take a look at some of my other blogs featuring sketchnotes?

Marking and Feedback Sketchnote


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

The following are 10 strategies that may help you embrace marking and feedback and most of all, help your students act on feedback provided.

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 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-Drafting:

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.

Yellow Box Marking

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 re-submit their work as many times as necessary in order to achieve an ‘A’ grade.

4. Student Marking:

Get students to mark their own work, and their peers’ work, using student friendly mark-schemes.

5. Colour Highlighting:

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.

6. 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 ‘-‘.

7. 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.

8. Find and Fix:

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.

9. 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.

10. Traffic Lights:

Students are given a Red, Amber, or Green mark for a piece of work. All red or amber work can be re-drafted in an attempt to achieve a green mark. The final grade is calculated from the number of Green and Amber marks.

When using any marking strategy, don’t leave students with further queries. Why not try Praise, Suggestion, Question as an alternative strategy?

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Image: Shutterstock

Staff Training:

What not try some of the above material in your classroom? 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 …

This post is adapted from 12 Ways to Embrace Marking and Feedback and features another sketchnote in my aim to make content more engaging, practical and accessible for teachers.


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9 thoughts on “10 Marking and Feedback Strategies

  1. Hi Ross, Thanks again for a great and helpful blog post. I am happy to see you are trying sketchnotes (aka visual notes) as I have found them to be so useful for my own learning, recall and memory as well as to other teachers and students I have shared them with. I find incorporating visuals is a simple yet powerful way to instill information, knowledge and understanding. But I’m biased as I am an art teacher! There is a great post by Vicki Davis she shared on Twitter recently if you want to look into it further: http://bit.ly/1R2osKU and if you are interested in seeing some of the visuals I have made on educational topics, you can find them on Flickr: http://bit.ly/1PKEaI9 I’m still developing this skill both traditionally on paper and digitally on iPad. Hope you find this useful!

      1. Happy to help in return for all the work you do! Mike Rohde’s book is a great place to start as he truly is the godfather of sketchnotes. Please do share your notes on Twitter!

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