overviewWe’re having a focus on assessment for learning at the minute, which means we been relooking at what we do in terms of policies and practice (snore, snore, snore!). As a result I’ve been looking at ways to try to make the marking of students work both manageable and meaningful for the students … its a big ask, I know … with about 200 students each having 1 HW a week, 1 assessment every half term and an exercise book each.

I’ve been struggling with setting targets, that I can check have been done by the student, so one of the things I am doing with my year 11’s is a past exam paper, we’re starting with the 1380  non calculator paper, from way back in November 2010 (NOT a paper a week … I’m not a glutton for punishment!) for homework – they are set 1 and 2 so most of the topics are accessible to them. The idea is that they complete a few questions (its up to them how much they do over 3 or 4 weeks) and I mark the paper and basically tell them if the questions they have attempted is “right or wrong”. I may give them a hint, or I may ask them to go away and research the topic, or even just to review what they have written if I know they should be able to answer it as we have done the topic in class. The next week they then hand in the same paper, with more questions attempted and the cycle continues.

AFL maths

In order to evidence this I have put together a summary sheet that over the cycle will demonstrate progress to them and also anyone else who cares to look … on the right hand side of the page I can date and make comments, but more importantly set them targets that can be reviewed the following week … so for example I might write after the initial marking in week 2 “relook at Q3”, and then the next week they will get Q3 right (and this will be shown in the column for week 2) showing that the feedback loop has been completed for that specific piece of feedback I’ve given them. The beauty of this is that I can use self or peer assessment to mark the work and set the target if I wish to save me time, and make the marking load manageable, but the main thing is that the feedback is acted on and the feedback loop is closed.

So far I’ve completed week 1 for every student, and the sheets are all ready to give back to student (and stuck in books!!), and going forward when the students get their papers back they can update their own sheet, and work out what grade they have now achieved overall (and I know some would say that we shouldn’t be giving grades, but the nature of the way in which maths is taught is unique and I think we need to, in certain circumstances) … its not to tell them “this is what you will get”, but to show them that they can over time make progress.

POST SCRIPT: Just driven into work and thought about this some more and need to add that I would never do this with certain groups and I am going to get  some of the students to rate their effort every week in addition to updating the AFL sheet when they get the “remarked” work back.

UPDATE: I’ve now been doing this for a few weeks with my year 11’s and I like it!! … I am able to focus on student specific target questions, giving them hints or tips and I get them to make notes to me if they are “stuck” (I like stuck!!) or they forget to bring in their homework and I can then show and discuss with parents. Funnily enough I am having a better submission rate knowing that their parents may get to see their excuses … weird that (?!?).  What is particularly good, is that I am able to tick off any of the previous feedback I’ve given, showing that the feedback loop has been closed and the students are able to see their progress over a period of time. I also like the fact that we are continually revisiting previously taught topics … I am a firm believer that maths needs to be practised.

I am loving this! … already rolling out to year 10 and year 9…

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