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Marking Pupils' Work

Marking Written Work at Desford Primary School


High- quality marking of written work makes a vital contribution to pupil progress.


Marking provides children with a clear and precise guide to how to improve their next piece of work and a clear expectation that they concentrate on improving this aspect as the next small step in making progress in their learning overall.


In effect, marking is short- term target setting for pupils, as well as an opportunity for teachers to make accurate assessments of pupil progress and needs.


At Desford, we have an agreed and consistent approach to marking throughout the school although some variation is required to recognise the needs of the very young children. The marking scheme used throughout the school is attached to the bottom of this page and parents will see the symbols used when they look through their child’s books at Parents Evenings. Obviously, the children know what these symbols mean and a marking scheme poster is clearly visible in all the classrooms


In addition to these symbols, many pieces of work will be annotated by teachers with "Three Stars and Wish”. This indicates to the child what has been done well, and what their next step is in developing their work further. Crucially, children are given time to reflect on the advice they are given in marking and are expected to act upon it subsequently.


Many pieces of work in pupil’s books will be prefaced with a Marking Ladder. This is a grid relating to the exercise that very precisely defines what the intended outcomes are for the piece of work. Usually, these grids vary to reflect the ability bands in the class and the precise next steps relative to each ability group. The Marking Ladder forms the focus of the child’s efforts in the exercise and also provides the context of the marking when the exercise is looked at by the teacher. Additionally, the Marking Ladders supports children in reviewing their own and each others' work critically.


Marking in books is in one of four ink colours , all of which are used consistently throughout the school to denote a particular purpose for the marking. Purple ink denotes teacher marking. Green ink indicates that pupils have edited their work. Red ink shows a pupil's own corrections and black ink review of work by a child's peers.


Teacher marking is a very time-consuming activity. A class’ worth of written pieces comprising around a page of writing per child (for instance) will take a teacher between two and three hours to mark properly. Clearly, not every written exercise can receive the same level of detailed teacher attention. Children’s work will always be marked but to a degree appropriate to the exercise and the teacher’s intentions. Homework will be acknowledged by teachers but as matter of school policy, is not marked (although children may often be given the opportunity to peer and self-review their homework). Marking homework produces unacceptable workloads for teachers and detracts from more important marking activities.


The very most effective marking is done with the children as they are doing their work, or very soon afterwards. A tick and symbol in this case is always accompanied by verbal feedback and target setting. This high-quality marking can only be done when teachers work with small groups of children, or 1-1.


Overall, good marking is the basis of good pupil progress and we are careful to ensure marking throughout the school is of consistently high standard and teachers’ marking is regularly reviewed by Senior Leaders .