If you’re a teacher that’s been anywhere near Twitter in the past year you’ve probably stumbled across #FeedbackNOTmarking, which has been a major focus from @MrsHumanities. The emphasis is, as it says, on giving meaningful feedback to students rather than marking for a grade/score. It’s no secret that summative assessment generally offers little to students in terms of opportunities to improve, but feedback goes a long way to promote progress and learning.
I review students books and set based on their work, and the comments range in focus from things like adding labels to diagrams, to reviews of full learning objectives. Obviously, reviewing a class full of books and setting meaningful targets is a huge time commitment, and the vast majority of teachers know that from agonising first-hand experience.
My solution, based on an idea from a colleague of mine, is my target setting symbols sheet. I basically write symbols at the relevant places in the students’ books, and give them a handout that shows what the symbols mean. When the books are returned they go through and highlight all of the places that I’ve used a symbol, then in the next available space in their book, they write the targets that correspond to the symbols. This has two huge benefits:
- Students have to engage in their targets. If targets are already written by me, they’re easier to ignore. However, if the students write the target, it’s a far less passive process.
- It saves me HOURS!!!!! I can review a book in about a minute. Yes, a minute.
My sheet (useful for Science) is here, and I’ve made a blank template document that you can use if you want to use your own symbols and set your own targets (I recommend typing the targerts, printing the sheet, drawing your symbols, then photocopying that version).