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NCETM encourages primary teachers to cut down on maths marking


Created on 11 April 2016 by ncetm_administrator

New guidance from the NCETM on marking and assessment encourages primary teachers to spend less time on marking their pupils’ maths books.

In particular, the guidance suggests that the widespread practice of teachers giving individual and unique written tips and targets to every child in a class after every piece of work is a bad use of time. The time would be better spent on lesson planning, the guidance says.

The guidance is an attempt to address the perception - held by many primary head teachers - that Ofsted inspectors expect to see evidence of regular, detailed and personalised marking in pupils’ maths books. This is, in fact, not the case. The current Ofsted School Inspection handbook contains this paragraph:

Ofsted recognises that marking and feedback to pupils, both written and oral, are important aspects of assessment. However, Ofsted does not expect to see any specific frequency, type or volume of marking and feedback; these are for the school to decide through its assessment policy.

In this light, the guidance suggests a less time-consuming way of a teacher marking a class set of books, by drawing a distinction between errors that reflect a misunderstanding, and mistake that are simple ‘slips.’ The guidance recommends:

  • highlighting ‘slips’ briefly, particularly when there is an expectation that the pupil makes the correction him/herself
  • addressing errors of understanding either by individual/small group explanation or, where a misconception is evident in a large number of books, by a whole class discussion.

The guidance also addresses school-wide marking policies, by recommending that:

  • it should not be a routine expectation that next-steps or targets be written into pupils’ books. The next lesson should be designed to take account of the next steps.

The guidance, while relevant in every maths classroom, is particularly pertinent where a teacher and a school are adopting a teaching for mastery approach, a central component of which is keeping all pupils in a class working together on the same material. This requires careful lesson planning, which in turn, underlines the importance of a teacher using his/her time in the most efficient way.

Summing up the guidance, the NCETM’s Director for Primary Debbie Morgan said: ‘The most important part of a teacher’s job is the teaching itself, supported by the designing and preparing of lessons. So other activities, such as marking books or collecting evidence, should not be too onerous or time-consuming.’


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Comments

 


04 July 2016 17:58
I think ncetm marking document should include reference to 'clarification for schools', as per the link above. This will clarify that inspectors are interested in what difference is a school's policies, actions etc making to children's progress. There are no Ofsted approved policies, it's the impact of a school's approach that is important.
By Sandi
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30 June 2016 10:32
Reply from Debbie Morgan-

We have worked with Ofsted on the document and agreed it together with Jane Jones. Ofsted are not saying this is the only way, but if a school selects to use the guidance than that will be acceptable on an inspection. They should however adopt it into their school policy.
29 June 2016 21:06
I was at a training day on mastery earlier this week and Debbie Morgan said this guidance was approved by Ofsted. The document mentions the inspection handbook and clarification schools and whilst ther is a link to the handbook there isn't one to the other document which clearly states Ofsted does not have a preferred approach or frequency of marking. Here is the link https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/463242/Ofsted_inspections_clarification_for_schools.pdf

I am just a bit confused and would appreciate clarification!
By Sandi
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29 June 2016 18:16
I was at a training day on mastery earlier this week and Debbie Morgan said this guidance was approved by Ofsted. The document mentions the inspection handbook and clarification schools and whilst ther is a link to the handbook there isn't one to the other document which clearly states Ofsted does not have a preferred approach or frequency of marking. Here is the link https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/463242/Ofsted_inspections_clarification_for_schools.pdf

I am just a bit confused and would appreciate clarification!
By Sandi
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