Improving Marking and Feedback

Reading time: 4

Steven Robertson

Steven writes for the Teacher Toolkit site from a primary perspective. He is a primary school teacher in a catholic primary school in Runcorn. Although currently in key stage 1, he has experience teaching across a variety of year groups and has previously taught in...
Read more about Steven Robertson

Would you like to develop your understanding of assessment and the purpose of high quality marking and feedback?

I remember struggling not just with marking in my formative years of teaching, but also fully understanding the various forms of assessment and marking techniques I could use. Over time, I’ve discovered what works and what doesn’t and what can help reduce workload. As the academic year is heats up, every teacher will already be dealing with piles upon piles of marking!

So, what strategies can you try to help improve marking and feedback?

Marking and feedback forms a crucial part of every teacher’s daily routine, regardless of your age, the subject you teach and the ability and age range of the pupils you teach. The importance of high quality marking and feedback has been evidenced by many academic studies and the benefits of a rigorous approach to marking and feedback can be seen in everyday classrooms where students are thriving and attainment levels are high as a result.

What’s it all about?

Both the individual teacher’s and the whole school’s approach to marking and feedback need to be well-thought-out, of high quality and appropriate for the individual school and setting. Whether you are simply a class teacher looking to develop your practice or you are a school leader responsible for delivering CPD training for marking and feedback, ‘Marking and Feedback’ by Sarah Findlater is a book you really ought to read.

When marking and feedback is a regular routine in the classroom, it is always apparent; work is of a higher quality, students take more time over their work, work is better organised, students are able to talk about their learning and results are improved. Sarah Findlater, Marking and Feedback

Inside Marking and Feedback:

From start to finish, ‘Marking and Feedback’ will make you reflect upon and improve your own teaching. Split into two sections, the first part of this book seeks to develop your understanding of the purpose of high quality marking and feedback and the way you incorporate this into your daily practice.

It includes everything you need to improve your marking and feedback and is split into four key stages. Each stage includes teaching tips, to do lists and recommendations for how you can share your ideas and practice with other teachers.

Stage 1: Assess

As well as providing an introduction to the main areas of marking and feedback, this stage includes a self-assessment questionnaire so that you can start the process of improving your practice by reflecting on what you already know and identifying the areas you need to improve.

Stage 2: Improve

Here you will find information about the different types of marking and feedback, the key theorists and what they say and how to put it into practice in the classroom. It introduces the marking and feedback cycle – a unique approach to improving your practice. If you are reading this from behind a huge pile of books you have yet to mark, this is the chapter that will give you 16 different ways to quickly and effectively work your way through them.

Stage 3: Improve

This stage of the book offers you the chance to reflect once again and evaluate how much you have improved so far. The section also asks you to reflect on which areas still need improvement.

Stage 4: Excel

This final stage looks ahead to how you can continue to improve and embed your good practice in the classroom as well as the rest of the school.

Developing Others

And finally, no-one can ever really master the art of marking, but your awareness of assessment strategies and techniques to help reduce workload and improve impact are considered.

This chapter assumes that you are working towards becoming more of an expert in marking and feedback, and then offers strategies for you to begin training others in your school. If so, external training can be expensive and may not deliver the impact you are hoping for.

Who better then, to lead staff training, than you? Whether it is one training session or a term’s worth of training sessions, there is advice and training plans in this section to help you get started, plan and implement CPD in your school. This section includes advice for running good professional development, offers a full set of training plans and a full set of training presentations which can be downloaded for use in school.

shutterstock_190537427 Feedback concept - businessman talk feedback Speech Bubble

Marking and feedback, the poisoned chalice for all teachers, is tackled thoughtfully throughout this book with simple, efficient and valuable strategies that any subject teacher, primary or secondary can use. It’s a blinder by Findlater and a text I will have by my side each time the marking pile starts to stack up!’ @TeacherToolkit

Image: Shutterstock


Every teacher has struggled with their marking load at some point in their career. It’s the poisoned chalice of teaching with no simple solution. This book is simple, efficient and full of good practical advice on how to improve your marking and feedback. It won’t solve all your marking problems, but it will certainly help you think more cognitively about what you are doing and why. In turn, this may just make you mark smarter … Grab your copy here!

Findlater, Sarah. 2016, ‘Bloomsbury CPD Library: Marking and Feedback’, Bloomsbury, London, UK.


Steven Robertson writes for Teacher Toolkit.

You can follow him on Twitter @MrRobertson06 and read more of his articles here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.