I profess to be no expert when it comes to marking, although I work with colleagues who excel at it and seemingly enjoy the process. After reading a number of blog posts and tweets this weekend, alongside an increasing number of late nights due to marking I am left wondering where the balance lies and who we are marking for.
A few weeks into term and I have already marked hundreds of pieces of work, remarked work and set time aside for marking scrutiny’s and there appears to be no sign of the treadmill stopping. I read a blog post this week, in which each teacher was being told to keep a record of their marking, including when worked had been marked again, presumably to allow for the students making changes or becoming involved in a dialogue. I wonder who this record is for, how will this benefit the student, will the marking not be evidenced through discussions with the students or even observations of lessons?
I have also experienced fervent parental engagement this week; parents rightly, have their own children uppermost in their thoughts and actions, but this doesn’t mean they are qualified or have enough understanding to make effective judgements. In fact, when parents start posting their children’s books on social media – perhaps we have to question if we are even marking for our students at all.
I see the value of marking and enjoy the creativity and effort students put in, however I feel there is a fine line between marking to assess or moving learning forward and ticking boxes in an admin driven evidence trail. I feel in some situations the second has taken the lead and I wonder how it can be reversed? This pressure is not coming from my school leadership, I am fortunate to work in a place where staff have complete autonomy and are given the professional space to make their own judgements. So perhaps it is coming from the students – well I am confident that whilst they like making progress and want to learn, they would be happy with less formal work to complete.
So I suppose the final thought is how do we ensure marking is sustainable and how do we ensure it’s for the benefit of our students and their learning journeys? Answers on a postcard please*.
Rachael Green @DHSBGeography