Marking Policy (Oct 2013)

Wellsway School Marking Policy

Final Version, October 2013


This policy lays out the minimum expected response for teaching colleagues in all subject areas at Key Stages Three, Four and Five.


  1. 1.   Aims and Objectives: This policy is designed to have the following impact:


1.1         To ensure that each student can reach her/his potential in terms of progress achieved over time in each subject.

1.2         For students to receive written feedback which is clear and consistent and focuses on what has been done well, what can be improved and where errors in spelling and grammar have been made.

1.3         To give teachers a clear understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of each student in a teaching group. 

1.4         To give parents/carers an understanding of the progress that has been made by students. Parents/carers may be able to support areas where improvements need to be made through discussion/work at home.

1.5         To ensure that students think about the feedback from teachers and actively respond to what has been suggested. The written response and subsequent action by the student is an integral part of the process and contributes significantly to the learning process.

1.6         For teachers to show students that their efforts are valued and for students to feel motivated to improve.  


  1. 2.           Basic Expectations of Classroom Staff:


2.1        It is essential that teachers and Curriculum Team Leaders audit a group/cohort’s collective strengths and weaknesses at appropriate times in the year to give an indication of progress made as well as aiding lesson planning for the overall group.

2.2        Not all work will be marked by teachers.  It is perfectly reasonable for some work to be marked by peers, peer-pairs, other classroom staff or, on occasions, by the student themselves.

2.3        Teacher marking must reflect student targets, what the student has done well and what needs to be improved.

2.4        Lesson planning will need to take account of the need for students to respond in class to a teacher’s written comments and to share this response with peers.


To achieve this aim, there must be a uniform approach across the school.  


Students must know:


  • Overall target level/target grade for the unit of work;
  • Level/grade for the section of work to be assessed within the unit;
  • Successes within the assessed work;
  • How to improve work.



3        Our Consistent Approach:


When marking, teachers must address:


3.1     Factual mistakes/inaccuracy and technical inaccuracies in line with the subject’s requirements and expectations.

3.2     Poor exam technique e.g. failing to answer the question, answers which are limited in depth or, conversely, overly detailed for the question asked.

3.3     Presentation and handwriting.

3.4     Coherence of points made.

3.5     Improvements that can be made to written style e.g. use of paragraphs,  sentence construction, repetition,  mixed tenses, limited use of connectives, limited vocabulary and an overall lack of sophistication, commensurate with expectation.


Marking should focus on the assessment of progress in relation to specific learning objectives or a student’s target/s. At the end of the marking process it should be clear to the student “what they have done well” and “what they need to do to improve” in relation to learning outcomes.


  1. 4.           Written Comments from Staff:


Comments should be positive and subject specific.  Linking words such as “BUT” are best avoided. “Even better if…” (EBI) is a more helpful way of focusing teacher and student feedback. An interim Key Stage level or grade should be awarded to students when appropriate and, following key internally assessed pieces, students should be given the opportunity to improve their work.


At the end of tasks where the teacher has decided to record a mark centrally then it will be necessary to award:


4.1         A level or grade (depending on the Key Stage). At Key Stage 3 this should  

include a sub-level.

4.2         At least TWO positive points – two strengths of the piece of work.

4.3         At least ONE “even better if” – one improvement that could be made to raise

attainment. This could be in the form of a question so that students can carry out extra research.


5        Attainment:


Grades/levels aren’t always necessary. They can for example be meaningless given the size of the task, and distract from improvement comments. However, it is still important for teachers, parents/carers and students to know periodically how well learning is progressing and what still need to be done.






  1. 6.           Our Marking Code for Classroom Staff:



Where students make large numbers of SPaG errors teachers will need to balance the need to correct errors with the need to maintain student enthusiasm and positivity. 

Verbal Feedback stamps are available for staff who prefer to use them.

The ‘Green Pen’ Approach

Student Response


In order to improve the quality of learning it is essential that each student has the opportunity to consider and respond to feedback as well as correcting their work. 


A teacher may tell a student to mark her/his own work or mark that of a peer.   This is likely to only be for pieces where teacher assessment isn’t an immediate requirement.


Teachers must direct students which pieces are to be corrected and responded to in green pen.


Green pen editing should include the following:


Amendments to:


  • Spelling;
  • Punctuation (e.g. full stops, capital letters and commas);
  • Grammar errors;
  • Use of paragraphs;
  • Language improvement/development (inclusion of subject specific key words and concentration on more descriptive vocabulary);
  • Ideas which could be extended.


When the editing process is complete, a student who produced the initial task must then make two statements at the bottom of the finished piece of writing:


  1. In general terms, how well has the question/task been answered/addressed?
  2. What could you do better here and specifically what could you do at home to develop knowledge and understanding? 


Specific areas for improvement must be highlighted by the teacher for re-writing if necessary.   Students must be directed to re-write spelling errors three times per error to help students to remember new spellings.


The statements above can be amended by teachers to increase the sophistication/complexity of the student response as required.


When this exercise is undertaken by students, all responses will be written in green ‘ink’ whether this be hand written or where possible, as part of an electronic response.


To avoid confusion teachers must not use a green pen to mark work.




It is essential that this basic approach is adopted universally by teaching staff.  In order to ensure that the process is effective middle leaders and SLT will monitor teacher marking and student feedback as part of book scrutiny and lesson observations.  


In order to ensure the marking policy is a success the following expectations are in place:





  • Student work to show evidence of feedback at least once every three weeks.
  • Give students full feedback for at least one piece on average, once every three weeks in student books/folders (class and homework).
  • Advise students on how to improve the level or grade for the section of work in their books/folders.
  • Ensure that students have the target level or grade clearly displayed on the front inside cover of their exercise book/folder.
  • To share good practice with book marking in meetings. (Book Scrutiny)
  • CTLs to check marking of books three times per year through work sampling. (Once every two terms of which there are six per year)
  • Not to use a green pen when marking.
  • Coursework elements to be marked in line with exam board criteria.
  • At least one ‘Green Pen’ response to be completed every three weeks.

Teaching Assistants

  • To read through the comments written by teachers in order to guide any SEND students in the class – not do the work for them.
  • To use the ‘correction format’ e.g. ‘SP/GR’ during the lesson if required. This can be marked on students’ work.


  • Read comments written by teachers.
  • Respond positively to comments written by teachers.
  • When advised, self-assess work using criteria provided by teachers.
  • ‘Green Pen’ your work when directed.
  • Peer assess work fairly and responsibly, giving 2 positive points and one “even better if”. (2 strengths and one improvement).
  • Put your best effort into written work.
  • Catch up on book work after absence.
  • Keep standards of presentation of written work high.
  • Do not graffiti on the cover the exercise book or doodle in your books. The cover should only show name and class details.
  • If you forget your book, you should complete work on paper in class and copy this up into your book at home. This should be shown to the teacher in the following lesson.


  • To read through the comments written by teachers at least once every fortnight.
  • To support the school in checking that students are organising written work appropriately.
  • To check that students are packing the correct books and equipment for each day of the week.
  • To support the school in providing a bag that can accommodate books comfortably.

Curriculum Team Leaders

  • Carry out formal work scrutiny 3 times a year and check on the marking of books during learning walks.


  • Report on the quality of book marking during Lesson Observations.




Curriculum Responsibilities to Maximise Student Performance

What Are Our Priorities?

The role of school leaders, in all posts, is to ensure that our work in the classroom is of the highest possible standard, every day, and that student achievement is maximised.  A specific part of that leadership role is to ensure that our teachers adopt and embed best practice approaches.   As a result, students will engage strongly with learning and ultimately develop the skills to take full charge and responsibility of the learning process over time.

The aim of this paper is to give all Curriculum and School Leaders the opportunity to consider where these priorities should lie.  

Outstanding Curriculum Teams successfully create environments at all key stages where:

  • Leaders and teachers respond positively and proactively to the accountability of their role;
  • Standards of student achievement are a paramount concern;
  • Teacher practice is highly effective and regularly quality assured;
  • Teaching practice is developed in line with clearly defined whole school and team priorities.

Below I have attempted to map out basic responsibilities for Curriculum Team Leaders and Assistants in smaller Curriculum Teams outside of English, Maths and Science.

Outstanding Teams should manage accountability to raise standards by:

Curriculum Team Leader:

Assistant Team Leader:

Developing and implementing teaching and assessment strategies to improve student progress.

Interpreting progress data for teachers, subjects and groups of students across the Curriculum Team.

Monitoring the typicality of our daily provision.

Data at KS3: interpreting and intervening to ensure progress.

Devising and implementing programmes for underperforming colleagues.

Investigate, disseminate and embed effective T&L approaches using IT.

Liaising with SLT line manager to set targets for teachers, students and the overall team.

Contributing to robust PMR processes.

Leading robust PMR processes within the team.

Seeking Student Voice to feed into team evaluation.

Ensuring thorough, evaluative assessment of examination performance for SLT and the team.

Monitoring the typicality of our daily provision.




Attention to Best Practice:

Curriculum Team Leader:

Assistant Team Leader:

Researching, developing and implementing teaching and assessment strategies to improve student progress.

Seeking Student Voice to feed into team evaluation.

Develop evaluation into high quality team strategy for the short and medium term.

Co-ordinating display and celebration of student progress.

Overseeing digital media approaches.


Advertising the wider work of the team.



Regular Operational Activity:

Curriculum Team Leader:

Assistant Team Leader:

Evaluating and refining the course offer at KS4-5. 

Monitoring Budget and Resources.

Overview of the Budget.

Monitoring Student behaviour (+ve and –ve).

Deploying teachers appropriately to complete the timetable.

Overseeing the development of schemes of work.

Monitoring Student Behaviour (+ve and –ve).

Contributing to website resource.

H&S overview and direction.

Cover arrangements for absent colleagues.

Overview and leadership of SOW production.

Implementation of H&S.

Liaising with SLT regarding the appointment and induction of new colleagues.

Support and development of ITT/NQT.


Developing SOW work with colleagues.


Additional skills

  • Delegating appropriately to ensure work is distributed across the team
  • Asking for help when required
  • Inter-personal, political and strategic skills.

There are, of course, other tasks carried out by middle leaders in curriculum teams.

Larger teams benefit from additional leadership capacity through Lead Teachers, Assistant Team Leaders who are subject leaders and Key Stage co-ordinators who take additional responsibility and add significantly to the leadership in larger teams.

Q.        How should we change the leadership structure in our teams to give Curriculum Team Leaders appropriate accountability and leadership opportunity to improve the quality of teaching and learning in our classrooms and for standards of achievement?


SWH Oct, 2013