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Live marking

In this post, I would like to concentrate on the one element of our job which most of the colleagues (myself including) that I have spoken to over the years as a teacher and as a leader, enjoy the least: marking!

We all appreciate that marking and feedback are pivotal to our role as teachers, and they are also essential for our students in terms of moving their learning forward but that doesn’t mean that everything needs to be or should be marked!

Unfortunately, there are still schools, leaders, and teachers out there who desire to mark every piece of work and record written feedback into students’ books for the sake of the ‘marking policy’! Consequently, the workload is becoming unmanageable forcing more and more teachers to give up teaching because this way of working is unsustainable and their work/life balance as well as wellbeing are becoming seriously compromised!

On the other hand, there is also a rising number of Trusts, schools and leaders that are moving away from the ‘traditional marking’ in favour of a more efficient and effective feedback method such as ‘live marking’.

What is live marking and why are practitioners adopting it as a more effective method?

Foremost, live marking is a method which provides effective feedback on student work while they are still in the process of completing it, the idea being, is to give students instant feedback on their work. 

Therefore, in my practice, whilst students are working, I circulate the classroom looking at their work and pointing out the good elements in their work and address mistakes or misconceptions during their working process. If I spot that quite a few of my students are making the same type of a mistake or struggle with the same type of a concept, I stop the process and re-address or re-teach the concept (responsive teaching).

I often use it also when students have completed an independent piece of writing. In this case, I would collect 6-7 pieces of writing, put them under my visualiser and mark them ‘live’, while the rest of the class follows and marks their own work alongside

Even though students’ pieces of writing differ, from experience, they make the same types of mistakes, i.e., in German, not writing nouns with capital letters, mis-spelling certain sounds (ei/ie), making mistakes with the WO, making mistakes with the construction of their tenses – missing out the past participle, auxiliary verb, the infinitive or using the wrong verb/adjectival ending etc.

*Examples of live marking

The pros of live marking are:

  1. it is timely: in other words, it is within the timeframe that is meaningful to students’ learning.

  2. it is specific: in other words, specific to the key LOs that the students are aiming to secure during the learning episode or in the period of learning.

  3. it is action-based: to move students’ learning forward they complete a specific (targeted) step or a task.

  4. it addressed common misconceptions or high frequency errors, thus reducing their likelihood of making that mistake in the first place.

Live marking is aligned with the EEFs 2021 guidance report’s feedback principles, provides instant gratification (students feel motivated) and is a win in terms of workload (no longer taking stacks of books home and spending the evenings and weekends marking).

However, there is also caveat to bear in mind. Nothing is perfect! 

Live marking can be time-consuming. Getting around the whole class within the limits of the lesson can be challenging, even impossible. Therefore, in my own classroom, when planning my lessons, I decide beforehand how many books or which students’ books I want to sample during that specific learning episode, and I use it alongside other feedback strategies, such as MWBs, C4U, cold call, RP, questioning etc. 

In my 18 years of teaching, this method has proven more impactful than any other that I have tried previously, including the infamous ‘triple marking’!

In conclusion, I believe when trying any new approach or method, it is important to ensure it is fit for purpose for our individual and unique contexts, finding out what works and doesn’t work for us and our own classrooms is essential as there is no one size fits all! It is very much trial and error to find the best ‘fit’!

*template for independent writing by @teacheryDiaz

3 comentários

28 de nov. de 2023

How do you manage students who might be embarrassed? They can always decline - do you just ask and they use say yes?

Also what can I use instead of a visualiser? I work in an under resourced school. Usually I circulate and then put common errors on the board and go over them. I’m sure à visualiser would be better… are they very costly?

Silvia Bastow
Silvia Bastow
28 de nov. de 2023
Respondendo a

Hi, you can use a cheap hue camera from Amazon, they are £25-40, I don't use any expensive ones. As per managing students who might be reluctant to show their work, you can always ask beforehand or we often don't share names of whose work it is unless student wants it. We always find positive points in the work and look at how we can improve/make it even better. We use this method even for examples of excellence as our motto is: we can always improve, even when I share my own piece, I actively ask students how we can move it forward, this seems to work even with reluctant students or perfectionists.😊


28 de nov. de 2023

Excellent idea

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