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In Our Department: Revamping the Marking and Feedback Strategy for MFL

In our department, we are committed to ensuring that our approach to marking and feedback for Modern Foreign Languages is both effective and conducive to student learning. Recently, we undertook a comprehensive review of our current strategy for Key Stage 3 . This reflection was driven by a critical question: Is our marking and feedback strategy fit for purpose?

In this post, I would like to share insights from our review process and the steps we are taking to enhance our approach.

Is Our Current Strategy Fit for Purpose?

Upon reviewing our current marking and feedback policy / strategy, we asked ourselves several key questions: Does it meet the diverse needs of our students? Does it provide actionable insights for improvement? Are we striking the right balance between formative and summative assessment?

We found that while our strategy had strengths, there were areas for improvement. For instance, while teachers were providing regular feedback, it was not always clear whether this feedback was effectively guiding students’ progress. Moreover, we identified a need for greater consistency in marking across the department to ensure all students received equitable support.

Book Look

Book looks are a valuable practice within our department, conducted jointly as a team during our scheduled morning briefings on Thursdays and Fridays, providing an opportunity to review student progress and ensure adherence to our departmental policy. This process involves systematically reviewing students' exercise books to assess the quality, consistency, and development of their work. Teachers check these books regularly, as per our departmental guidelines, to monitor the range of tasks completed, the feedback provided, and students' responses to that feedback. By doing so, we can identify patterns in learning and areas that require additional support. Book looks also help ensure that marking practices are consistently applied across the department. This reflective practice is integral to maintaining high standards and supporting continuous improvement in teaching and learning.

An example of our book look proforma

Reviewing Our Marking/Feedback Schedule

To address these issues, we also scrutinised our marking and feedback schedule. A well-structured schedule is vital for ensuring timely and relevant feedback. We focused on identifying key formative and summative pieces and clarifying our rationale for selecting these specific pieces.

  • Formative Assessments: These are embedded throughout our curriculum to provide ongoing insights into students’ progress. Formative assessments include Retrieval Practice: vocabulary quizzes (these are self-marked by the students), verbal feedback throughout the lesson, MWBs, oral presentations, and short written tasks. The rationale for these is to give frequent, low-stakes opportunities for students to practise and for teachers to identify and address learning gaps promptly.

  • Summative Assessments: These occur at the end of each term and include comprehensive tests covering reading, writing - written feedback is given, listening, and speaking skills. The rationale here is to evaluate cumulative knowledge and skills, informing our reporting system and helping us measure the effectiveness of our instruction.

By identifying these key points, we ensure that our assessments are purposeful and that the feedback provided is timely and targeted.

Clarifying Departmental Marking Expectations and Schedule

Clear communication within the department is crucial for maintaining consistency in marking and feedback. We have established a detailed marking schedule, outlining specific dates for formative and summative assessments and when feedback should be provided. This schedule is shared with the entire team to ensure everyone is aligned.

Additionally, we have set clear expectations for what constitutes high-quality feedback. Feedback should be specific, actionable, and constructive, helping students understand their strengths and areas for improvement. Alongside addressing obvious errors like spelling, we always include a concept target, such as the example below (correct word order for a grammar issue).

It should also encourage students to take ownership of their learning, prompting them to reflect on and act upon the feedback received. Part of the feedback lesson is then dedicated to whole-class feedback, where the teacher addresses common mistakes observed across the class and provides students with time to complete their green pen feedforward tasks.

*An example of written feedback: year 7, Summer term

*An example of feedforward task completed: year 7 , Summer term

Standardisation and Moderation: Ensuring Consistency and Fairness

To further enhance consistency and fairness, we have introduced standardisation and moderation processes for the marking of key assessment pieces. This involves:

  • Standardisation Briefings: Before marking begins, we meet to discuss and agree on the criteria and standards. We use exemplars, including What A Good One Looks Like (WAGOLL) samples, to illustrate the expected standard of work.

  • Moderation Briefings: After marking, we hold moderation sessions where we review and discuss a sample of marked work. This helps to ensure that the marking criteria are applied consistently and that any discrepancies are addressed.

These processes not only promote consistency but also provide professional development opportunities for teachers, enhancing their assessment literacy and confidence in making accurate judgments.


Our review has reaffirmed the importance of a robust marking and feedback strategy in supporting student learning in MFL. By identifying key formative and summative assessments, clarifying departmental expectations, and implementing standardisation and moderation practices, we are better positioned to provide meaningful feedback that drives student progress. As an Academy and department, we remain committed to continuous improvement, ensuring our practices evolve to meet the needs of our students and teachers alike.

By fostering a culture of consistent, high-quality feedback, we empower our students to achieve their full potential in Modern Foreign Languages, preparing them for future success.

*The feedback checklist on the writing task is based on a stamper designed by MFL teacher, Camille Miralles and adapted for German and our marking policy.

Camille's stamper is designed for French and Spanish and can be bought here:

1 Comment

Very inspirational. Merci beaucoup!

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