On Marking: Peer critique extended…

There’s been a lot of traffic on the @mrpeel Twitter feed recently about marking. As an English teacher, I understand that the quantity of marking we handle goes with the territory and whilst I grumble at times, I recognise the value and importance of quality feedback to which students attend in an effort to improve.

I also try to vary my approach. recently I have been lucky with a synchronicity of task in Yrs 9 & 11. As Yr 9 have ended their term of War Literature focus – Journey’s End, poetry and a Remembrance Poetry competition, the wrote an essay on Disabled – how does Owen create sympathy…? Year 11 are just finishing the final draft of their Edexcel IGCSE Language coursework on Anthology B, featuring Disabled – a popular choice, along with the Auden Refugee Blues, this year.

I asked Year 11 to assess and feedback on the Year 9 essays before I “marked” them. We discussed the importance and nature of feedback and I reminded them of Ron Berger’s dictum about positive critical feed

back – be nice, be encouraging and be honest. They were:
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I think anyone would be impressed by the detail seen here and the care taken to give constructive criticism. I also love the comments about how they were working when they were in y 9.

Year 9 were thrilled and grateful for this, year 11 got a useful dose of application of mark scheme and clarity of thinking as they finished their work. I did not save me time – I still read and marked each essay, but I feel this is a very valuable tool to be used sparingly – and when tasks coincide.