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  • Writer's picturePixiMaths

Making marking easy (or easier!)

Marking is a big topic at the moment. There are lots of questions around about effective marking, what we should be writing down and how long it should be taking us.

With this in mind, I wanted to share a few ideas to support you in timely and effective marking.

I think the first thing to mention is that the feedback doesn’t have to be from us as teachers – if you can train your students to give effective feedback to each other, this can impact on your workload in a big way. Where possible, most of my lessons have the answers included within the PowerPoints to enable instant feedback to take place within the lesson. Depending on how much time you have, this can be self-assessment or peer assessment and could even include detailed corrections. When you as the teacher look back at the book, there will be very little left for you to do here! This links in to choosing what to mark. If students have already marked a piece, you probably don’t need to mark it too.

This takes me onto my second point: “Great work!” isn’t going to help any student to improve. It’s a waste of your time to tick or write a superlative on every page of every student’s book. Ask yourself, “What will the impact be on student progress?” If you can’t think of an answer, don’t bother.

You need to ask yourself why you mark students’ books. For me, it’s so I know whether they’re ready to move onto the next topic. As much as I move around the classroom, I know that if I mark the books, I won’t miss any students out.

I also mark so that the students can get a summary of what they have achieved within each topic. Generally I mark roughly at the end of each topic, usually about every two weeks. I ensure my comments are subject-specific: I’ll write two objectives the student has achieved and one area they need to develop.

As confidence in maths is intrinsically linked to success, after telling a student what they need to work on, I think it’s really important we give them a chance to work on it! I’ll stick in a relevant feedforward sticker (found at and give them a little scaffolding to help them answer it. Now the student has an outline of their strengths and weaknesses, and also a way in to help them address their weaknesses.

@TeacherToolkit’s Christmas marking video provided me with a few new ideas too – definitely worth a watch if you haven’t seen it already:

This marking crib sheet from MrThorntonTeach can also massively reduce workload whilst still providing effective feedback to students:

I hope you find a few of these strategies helpful and that they save you a little time. Please comment with any further suggestions to share with our awesome community.

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