If your school is research-engaged, what documents are you publishing and sharing with the world?
A fabulous research publication is shared online by University College School, Hampstead (London).
A school in North London has published a 56-page research review (2022) to showcase “a vast array of innovative and original research carried out by staff at the school.” The journal is split into three sections:
- original research undertaken by staff
- extended essays and analysis of education policy
- dedicated to reviews of recently published books
There’s lots inside and I would encourage you to take a closer look.
I’ve (obviously) read the ‘qualitative exploration of marking’ by Emma Dell (page 12), as it references my work with Mark Quinn and our Verbal Feedback Project (UCL, 2019).
I’m keen to learn how the marking burden and feedback dialogue conversations are moving along …
Dell explains that her analysis aims to outline marking practices at [the school]. “Pupils and teachers were surveyed to explore their opinions on effective marking, with focus groups of middle school and sixth form pupils providing further depth.”
Dell’s action research sought to ask “pupils to categorise their most and least helpful forms of marking” using a Likert scale.
Statements were used before a ‘free response’ was offered; 243 pupils responded.
Most helpful feedback?
On page 14 there are a set of coded responses to the free-response question where students can describe marking that they found most helpful. Here are the results:
- Model answers = 25
- Comments = 21
- Google Doc comments = 15
- Improvements = 13
- Specific/detailed = 13
- Identifying errors = 11
- Grade plus comments = 10
- Grades = 5
The research also gathered the views of 67 teachers.
The research project concluded that pupils value marking; they believe it helps them to improve with teachers reporting that marking strongly has a positive impact on student progress.
Thankfully, the research also highlights the “diverse forms of marking taking place, and that effective marking does not necessarily need to involve red ink in an exercise book.”
The report adds, “Specific, actionable comments are highly appreciated by pupils, but some pupils feel that they receive too much written feedback which can be overwhelming.”
How do teachers get the balance right? How do pupils know what the teacher offers is just what they need?
Of interest, model marking is identified by the pupils, but not by the teachers. All teachers must keep this in mind – modelling the assessment process with students live, or in recorded videos to see the assessment process.
There’s more in this research article as well as in the entire document. With this read, I’d also encourage you to see if you and your school are ready to take your marking and feedback procedures and thinking into the next decade.
Pupils and teachers described the benefits of verbal feedback in the survey, and this is supported by UCL’s Verbal Feedback project which showed improved engagement, performance and pupil-teacher relationships through the use of verbal feedback.