Category Archives: Feedback

‘…only perfect practice makes perfect.’ (Vince Lombardi)

Revisiting feedback.

If you look through the short term targets from our review you will see that one is to ‘Achieve consistency in: marking / feedback and pupils’ responses/ expectations of presentation / use of seating plans’. This post revisits feedback.

Please scrutinise your books:

  1. Is there a target sheet in the front of the book?
  2. Have the students written in at least 2 EBIs?
  3. Have the students written in the level for their assessments? Yr 9 should have completed 2 assessments if following the WW1 scheme in Term 1 or 1 assessment if studying Shakespeare in Term 1.
  4. What has been written in the spelling column? How are you assessing SP&G? How would you like to assess SP&G?
  5. How many times have you marked their books? School policy is that books are marked fortnightly or every 6 lessons.
  6. Have you given enough time to students to respond to your feedback? There must be evidence of a developing learning conversation and the students must respond using green pens. Students should spend more time on their responses than you have spent marking them!
  7. Our protocols state that we need to use the marking policy. It isn’t enough to write the symbols in the margin you should check that your students have corrected and improved their work.


  1. These (see above) help to highlight where students need to direct their attention. Although of course we should be aiming for students to do this actively, for themselves.
  2. If you took a sample of your exercise books would differentiation be evident? Or would you see the same tasks/objectives repeated throughout the class?
  3. How are you guiding your students so that they understand how to respond? Is your feedback feeding forward?

Some examples:

  • Underline the verbs in this piece. Change the tense to the present.
  • Find examples of 3 persuasive techniques that you used and highlight them in red. Name the technique. Explain the effect of the technique on the reader.
  • Why have I underlined a elephant?
  • Underline the punctuation marks that you have used. How many different punctuation marks have you used? Aim for 5.
  • Select a word that deliberately chose for its effect on the reader. Write the word below and explain the effect you intended on the reader.
  • Rewrite the section that I have bracketed making sure that you have used a range of sentence lengths.
  • Underline the openings of your sentences – what did you notice?





‘Up to the highest height’

“Winds in the east / Mist coming in / Like something is brewing / About to begin / Can’t put me finger / On what lies in store / But I feel what’s to happen / All happened before.”

How to be ‘practically perfect’

My advice would be to make sure that we all have a week’s break but if you do need to catch up with your marking the second week is the time to do this.


Please remember that we are committed to using the yellow stickers, www and ebi comments and the whole school literacy annotations. This is not an option.


We should also be using green pens for student responses to feedback.

Bic crystal green penThis is still an area that requires improvement. I am confident that our feedback is improving but not so confident that students are acting on feedback effectively.

One question from the inspection which keeps coming back to haunt me “If your teacher’s feedback is so good why aren’t you making more progress?”

Remember when marking to resist the temptation of over correcting work. The students need to work problems out for themselves. Our present Year 8 will be the first year to sit the new GCSE exams where 20% of their mark will come from SPAG.

To be blunt there is little point in spending hours on marking books if students are not using the feedback to improve and make progress. We must show evidence of interaction. If you pose a question how do you ensure that it has been answered?

Remember to provide time in lessons and check their responses. I have started using a star stamp every time there is a particularly good example.

We must ensure that our books and folders provide evidence of progress over time. This cannot be achieved if we are not marking regularly over time. I aim to look at books fortnightly – this does not mean that I write lengthy comments every fortnight!


Many of us have split classes. I have found that regular feedback with these classes has really helped my relationships. The tricky issue is whether we share books or have separate books. I think that it should be easier to demonstrate progress with one book but this creates problems when needing to collect in books to mark. Perhaps those of us with split classes need to take time to self/peer assess each other’s marking so that the students are not receiving mixed and confusing messages.

Specific Guidance from EEF (Education Endowment Foundation) on Feedback

  • Be specific, accurate and clear
  • Compare what a student is doing right now with what they were doing wrong before
  • Encourage and support further effort
  • Give sparingly – too much stops students from working out what they need to do for themselves
  • Provide specific guidance on how to improve.












Thomas Wayne: And why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.

This week’s edition will be shorter as I’m immersed in exam entries and marking. I would like to focus on the Subject Review and I’m intending to give you some links to various sites that I have been reading during the holidays re feedback which is our focus. Please read and add to these via email or comments on our blogsite. I now know that we will be observed with our KS3 classes; unless you don’t have KS3! I am going to ask Claire for LG timetables on Monday and then I will start the process of arranging the observations. Please let me know if you can foresee any problems.

We will also undertake a work sample of KS3 and a student voice exercise to establish a clear picture of the different feedback strategies that we use. We could also film feedback in action and photograph any wow examples that we have. Please let me know of any examples of best practice that you have; these could be from any KS.

Feedback: Why don’t we try? Our very own…

Two posts from David Didau…

One of my favourite Northern bloggers…

And another Northerner…

An idea that Sarah has used successfully…

Can’t remember what this is… Of course how could I forget? There’s even a clue in the address!

And finally feedback of the future from Christopher Waugh. Controversial? Daunting or inspiring? I love it.

I’ve had a horrid week. Thanks so much for all of your support. Time to move forward.



Newsletter 9

Friday joke: Lif’s too short.

If you’re reading this on our blog make sure that you check out Caroline’s new page ‘Thoughts on 3’. If not go to Her post gives feedback on our Year 7 books and is the beginning of a discussion we need to have on how we mark and enable critique, self assessment, peer assessment and so on. Perhaps we don’t need to confine peer assessment to within the class? My Year 8 are peer assessing Year 9 stories which they could then also use as models for their own writing.  Please comment on Caroline’s thoughts and perhaps write about your own experiences. We would love as many people as possible to contribute to our blog.

As you know we decided in the CT meeting that our subject review is going to focus on feedback. Here are 2 posts from Lisa Jane Ashes to get us thinking. . One of the most interesting pieces of advice I have heard recently is to give the students 10x the amount of time that you have spent marking their book on reflecting and answering your questions/setting targets. I also really like the expression ‘feedforward’,  which somehow seems more optimistic.

iPad news – remind yourselves of the unit that you are teaching Year 7 in January. We need to embed ways of using the iPads; I am starting with  ‘Please Mr Postman’  and am intending to investigate a postcard app. Be prepared to talk about your ideas in our first 2013 CT meeting.

Why don’t we try…? Taking a risk. Have just handed over the next two weeks worth of lessons to my Year 9. Showed them the Reading APP grid and they now have to design their own assessment pieces for the theme of War Poetry. Will let you know how it goes.

Congratulations if you have finished your mocks – Sarah and I are going to input the data on Monday after school and then the number crunching will begin!

Claire S