The sole focus of feedback is to further a child’s learning. Feedback should empower a child to take some responsibility for improving their own work, with teachers alone not doing all the thinking work for them. We see that assessment and marking should serve the main purpose of advancing student progress and outcomes.
The end of Key Stage 4 and Post-16 progress made by students at Spalding Academy is excellent, with learners performing well above national average. We want to keep this success high and have implemented positive developments to our assessment and marking policy for all learners.
Previously our teachers would mark all coursework and homework tasks, which resulted in students receiving more limited feedback on their work and some general ‘tick and flick’ responses that serves no purpose in furthering a student’s learning. We felt that this system was a limiting factor for our learners, with certain comments made by teachers not being specific enough to help advance a students’ progress.
Moving forward we evaluated our assessment processes and introduced a system which impacts positively on all our learners, involving a wider variety of assessment styles: ‘Low Stakes’ (online activities, quizzes, etc.) ‘Mid Stakes’ (practice exam questions, homework, etc.) and ‘High Stakes’ assessments (end of unit tests, essays, coursework, exams, etc.)
This means that students will receive a wide range of feedback, which will include: summary comments on final complex pieces of work; coded marking responses; immediate verbal feedback; peer and self-assessment and other approaches.
In addition, rather than assess every single piece of work, for selected pieces of assessment teachers may choose to mark a sample of student work in a ‘forensic way’, the feedback from which will be shared with all learners in order to make any necessary refinements in their work, often using our ‘purple pen redrafting system’ that is proven in its success.
You may ask what this will mean for students and parents / carers?
Most assessed work is retained in school in specific assessment folders for safe keeping. They may notice that not every single piece of class and homework will be marked for their child. However, they will also notice that feedback is far more in depth, relevant and will more clearly identify key areas for improvement, with increased opportunity for learners to develop the greater independence needed to meet the needs of increasingly challenging GCSEs, BTEC and A Level programmes of study.
We see our revised assessment processes as important and necessary change.