As a school we use “star, star, target” when marking books, and like the good little girl that I am I try to (!?!) follow this, even if I have left the ink stamp in school I attempt to include two good things and an area for them to focus on to improve. More recently this target has included something for the student to work on immediately in an attempt to create a “feedback loop” as part of my action research for my Masters (don’t ask!), but as this has involved very specific tasks for each specific student the work involved is unsustainable in my opinion and my motivation has waned recently I’m afraid.

This week I had a bit of an epiphany when I was marking a set of books. I was sat wondering what to write about a specific student and thinking that I couldn’t write the glib comments that sprung to mind (if you’re a teacher you will know what I mean), and wondered what that student thought I should write – this got me thinking that I should ask them. I then stamped their books twice and above the first stamp wrote “what I think” and above the second “what Miss thinks”. At the start of the next lesson the group was asked to mark their books – I explained that the only person who would see what they have written was me, and that I would then “master” mark them to see if I agreed with what they had written (that’s the weekend gone then!).

The impact of this is small scale and yet to be seen, as they haven’t yet seen my responses, but one student called me over and said “Miss, I just found a mistake because I set myself the target of checking my working out on things that I think are simple and guess what? I found where I’d gone wrong”. She was genuinely pleased.

I’m not sure whether this is something that I will do on an ongoing basis, but even if it made JUST one student take ownership of things they need to do to improve that’s enough for me.