Our Marking Policy in school has three non-negotiable aspects to it and of those the most important is that departments offer summative assessment prior to formative assessment.

If you’re not a teacher, that jargon means that before students do a final assessment in which they get a grade, they should have at least one ‘practice’ go at it.  This practice attempt gives them the chance to make some mistakes that they can then learn from.  If we don’t do this then students will miss out on the big piece of advice: the thing that will make the difference between meeting and beating a target grade, for example.

While this ‘practice’ might take the form of a mini assessment or mock assignment – for example, in English students will have periodic progress checks before a final task – this whole process can be neatly done in one lesson.

Simply enough, set a task and divide the time allowed in two.  Stop after the first half and mark – crucially the teacher should not be trying to write an essay themselves…. For this type of assessment the teacher is after one key target: the make or break.  The one thing that will catapult the grade higher. 

Students then write the second half of the assignment but with that target in mind.  The marking of the second half?  Simple – a statement that says whether the target was met or not.  If not, it is carried forward to the next assignment.  If so - praise, praise, praise. 

Of course, this may also be followed by a new target!

Staff – give shrinking assessment cycles a try.

Parents and carers – why not go through your child’s books to try and spot the targets they’ve been set.  Are they meeting them?  Or do the same ones appear again and again?...

Posted by Joseph Rowntree School on 28 November 2017

Category: Teaching & Learning Blog