10 Marking and Feedback Strategies

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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?

shutterstock_250826101 Problems man question mark

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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In 2010, Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit from a simple Twitter account in which he rapidly became the 'most followed teacher on social media in the UK'. Today, he is currently a PGCE tutor and is researching 'social media and its influence on education policy' for his EdD at Cambridge University. In 2015, he was nominated for '500 Most Influential People in Britain' in The Sunday Times as one of the most influential in the field of education - he remains the only classroom teacher to feature to this day ... Sharing online as @TeacherToolkit, he rebuilt this website (c2008) into what you are now reading, as one of the 'most influential blogs on education in the UK', winning the number one spot at the UK Blog Awards (2018). Today, he is slowly building an online community of teachers ... In 1993, he started teaching and is an experienced school leader working in some of the toughest schools in London. He is also a former Teaching Awards winner for 'Teacher of the Year in a Secondary School, London' (2004) and has written several books on teaching (2013-2018). Read more...

7 thoughts on “10 Marking and Feedback Strategies

  • 14th February 2016 at 9:29 am

    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!

    • 14th February 2016 at 9:57 am

      Hi Nicki- this is incredibly useful. I hope to develop a few more images over the half-term break. Thank you for the links = brilliant!

      • 14th February 2016 at 10:02 am

        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!

      • 14th February 2016 at 11:41 am

        I would love to! In fact I was just reading it and thinking it would be a good one to sketch!

      • 14th February 2016 at 12:10 pm

        Great – I was going to do it – but look forward to your interpretation. I’ll add it to the blogpost when complete. Thanks Nicki

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