How do you hand back marking? Do you Frisbee the books around the room? Or hand them back individually? Do you comment on each one? Do you use a hand-back-the-marking monitor? And — trickier still — how do make sure pupils take notice of the feedback you've written in their books?
The cynicism rating increases with age — younger pupils enjoy the attention and are eager to see what words of wisdom you have lovingly written at the foot of their work. But teenagers are much harder to engage and are often only interested in the mark that comes at the end.
But marking is about learning, not grading, and pupils need to know why some work is better than others. One way to achieve that is to use exemplars. The easiest method is to use last year's group — but, of course, this is not an option for NQTs. So find a colleague or a class that is doing the same work. Take three or four pieces of work of different standards and copy or scan them so that you can display the work easily to your class. Remove any identifiers and blank out the comments. Now display the work and ask your pupils — ideally, they should be in pairs — to mark it. Explain to them what you would be looking for as the teacher.
If this doesn't produce one of the most interesting lessons you have taught in your career so far, I'll eat my hand-back-the-marking monitor.
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