Making marking maths books meaningful (and manageable)

I’m lucky to work in a maths department with many wonderfully collaborative and creative teachers. But something that we have all acknowledged we need to get better at is marking students’ books.

School policy is that we are supposed to mark books every 2 weeks. This is meant to take the form of a marking “dialogue” where we pose questions and set challenges, extension questions, etc. Some staff manage this, but most (including me) don’t. When I do, I feel a faint warm glow that I have done it, but actually on reflection, the students get little benefit from the 2-3 hours it takes me to mark a class set of books. I think about what I could achieve by researching and planning better lessons in that time and I’m convinced this would have a lot more impact on learning.

However, student feedback and formative evaluation is critically important – it’s right at the top of Hattie’s list of effects (here, here and here)

We had a great department meeting today where we discussed some ideas. I will share those here once they are more fully developed (I promise!), but in the meantime, can you share good practice you have seen? Or do you know of any good articles with ideas.  In particular, I’m thinking:

What’s the focus of your book marking? Asking questions? setting targets? Providing feedback – what sort of feedback?

Any particular templates that are good? e.g. stickers / slips to stick in books.

What policies work? i.e. they are realistic and are stuck to consistently by teachers.

Please comment below or tweet me @mhorley or e-mail me mark.horley@gmail.com

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