Dylan Wiliam has suggested that ‘Formative Assessment’ should really be called ‘Responsive teaching’. The rationale behind this is that teachers should adapt their teaching based on feedback from students in order to maximise student progression. Teacher feedback should:
- Have a positive impact on the student;
- Improve the student, not just a piece of work – ‘A recipe for future action’ to improve future work;
- Make the students think;
- Be followed by time to respond to the feedback;
The first fundamental principle of effective classroom feedback is that feedback should be more work for the recipient than the donor.
Formative assessment: An assessment functions formatively to the extent that evidence about student achievement is elicited, interpreted, and used by teachers, learners, or their peers to make decisions about the next steps in instruction that are likely to be better, or better founded, than the decisions they would have made in the absence of that evidence.
The key principles are echoed by the DfE workload review report ‘Eliminating unnecessary workload around marking’, March 2016, which states that:
- Consistency – Teachers must ensure that feedback is given in accordance with school guidelines and faculty assessment and feedback procedures to ensure consistency and low variance;
- Challenge – Teachers must set work that is sufficiently challenging and which is designed to move students forward in their learning as part of a scheme of learning;
- Intelligent task setting – ensure that tasks you set students are created in such a way as to allow opportunities to reveal something about a student’s strengths and weaknesses, thus providing opportunities for effective feedback;
- Communication –It is important for student learning that teachers clearly communicate learning intentions and model/exemplify what counts as excellent work;
- Presentation – Teachers must encourage excellent presentation. Title and date must be written and underlined. Dates must be written e.g. 1st November, 2020 or 1/11/2020 . Teachers must challenge poor presentation and poor effort and ensure that students take pride in their work;
- Verbal feedback – Students value verbal feedback because its impact is immediate. Teachers must aim to seek opportunities within lessons to provide effective verbal feedback when it is appropriate to do so;
- Timing – The timing of feedback “should be left to the careful judgement of the classroom teacher”, (Collin and Quigley 2021). They should consider The Task (Some tasks allow for immediate feedback for students to correct errors e.g. playing an instrument as students realise their own errors and some, such as essay writing, may need more immediate feedback from the teacher as errors are harder to spot), The Student (Students may need different guidance or prompts after different stages of a task) and The Class (A teacher may recognise a common misconception across the class that may need correcting, such as a misunderstanding regarding definitions of key vocabulary);
- Recall – When appropriate, regular low-stakes testing and quizzing must be a key feature of schemes of learning in order to provide feedback for students, enabling them to identify gaps in their learning and what they must do to improve;
- Written marking – When providing written comments on students’ work the comments must be presented in a way that is meaningful to students and supports progression in their learning;
- Time to respond – It is important to give students quality time in lessons to respond to feedback. These opportunities should aim to improve the student and their ability to deal with similar tasks in the future, not just improving one piece of work. In allowing this time to action feedback we complete the ‘feedback loop’;
- Actioning feedback – Teachers should be aware of the different factors which may influence a student’s engagement with feedback and the impact it will have. These can be seen in figure 3.
- Grades – When giving a grade teachers must consider the impact of giving it after the developmental feedback so that students can first of all engage with the developmental feedback.
Never grade students while they are still learning.
- Peer and self-assessment – these can be used at appropriate times during a sequence of learning to promote self-regulation and improved metacognition. They should only be used when they will have noticeable impact on progress.
Literacy-Focused Marking – Guidelines
In that every teacher is a teacher of literacy, it is appropriate that we all must comment on spelling, punctuation and grammar when errors are evident. Teachers are also encouraged to use strategies that encourage students themselves to identify SPaG errors and self-correct accordingly.
The following whole school literacy codes are available and can be used to direct children to errors, though these should not be used in isolation:
C Capital letter
Sp Spelling Error
P Punctuation – Full stops, commas for lists and question marks.
// New Paragraph
^ Word(s) missing.
Basic grammatical errors must be acted upon by teachers. That said, discretion should be used by teachers when marking for literacy. For example, with low prior attaining students it may be more appropriate to focus on the most common or most important errors to develop the basics of SPaG – too many alterations could undermine confidence. However, it is important to correct (or provide strategies for students to employ) misspelling of high frequency words and/or subject-specific terminology.
Green Pen Marking
Revisiting, editing, and acting upon feedback is good practice, and can develop written accuracy. Students should complete all self-marking and editing of work in green pen, though it may be appropriate for longer redrafts to use their usual blue or black pen, in line with school policy.
When a Faculty has Initial Teacher Trainees working within the Faculty the responsibility of the students’ books remains the responsibility of the subject teacher of the class which the ITT is taking. Although, a student teacher may complete the feedback it is the responsibility of the classroom teacher to ensure that the feedback remains to the standard set out within this policy and faculty guidelines.