Robert Powell
Trading as RCP Training & Consultancy
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Feedback and Marking

This training course covers all the key ingredients that will support schools or colleges in developing effective feedback and marking policies.

The course will also suggest that in developing feedback and marking within a school or college, leaders will need to recognise that assessment strategies will vary between different subjects and age groups, and so a single marking policy is unlikely to be workable. The course will set a set of key principles that can be adopted as whole-school or whole-college principles. These principles will be rigorous and non-negotiable, but the methods adopted by teams will vary depending upon context. So, for example, teachers of art or music, where units or work may take a whole term or more, will use different methods from teachers of mathematics or science where topics may change every two or three lessons. The methods used by teachers in early years may vary from those who teach Year 6. The principles, however, will be the same: e.g. success criteria are shared and modelled, feedback leads to learning.

The feedback and marking course will cover the following areas. Throughout, the focus is on practical strategies for using feedback, oral or written, to improve learning and to demonstrate and provide evidence for progress over time.
This type of training course can be with the whole-staff, with a department or year team, with a working group (e.g. in-house peer-coaching teams) or with SLT.

If the course is with the whole staff, ideally it requires a whole day and leadership teams are urged to use it as a launch with development time allocated following the inset.

In Further Education, it is advisable to target such a course at either the whole staff or at a whole faculty or team and not just at individuals who opt for it from a ‘menu’ of courses. Real progress happens when key strategies are agreed and adopted by whole teams, not just by individuals.
  • The evidence base for feedback and marking using the research of people such as John Hattie and Dylan Wiliam.
  • The course will emphasise the importance of feedback and marking in the inspection process given that a source of evidence for ‘progress over time’ is frequently a scrutiny of students’ work files, folders and exercise books.
  • The course will highlight the importance of feedback and marking being developed alongside teaching and learning strategies. For example time for oral feedback in large classes depends upon effective classroom management; feedback is only effective if it adds challenge, so effective differentiation needs to be in place; learners need to be actively engaged with assessment, utilising both peer-and self-assessment, so independent learning and small group collaboration skills need to be developed.
  • The success or otherwise of feedback is largely dependent upon learners being able to ‘visualise’ the actions they need to take to make progress. If the words offered by teachers in the form of feedback mean nothing, the desired action is unlikely to take place. So, the course will demonstrate a range of techniques for teachers not only to share success criteria but also to provide differentiated models enabling students to visualise their ‘next steps’.
  • A major focus for inspection teams is the impact of feedback on progress. Ten hours a week marking means that a teacher with 20 years’ experience will have spent a year of their lives assessing students’ work. If students then ignore the feedback guidance that marking time will have been wasted. So, the course will suggest a range of techniques for ensuring that not only is feedback (oral, written, peer) acted upon but the evidence is visible.
  • Finally, the course will set out a range of whole-school or whole-college principles for feedback and marking that can be modified and then adopted to the individual circumstances of the institution.
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