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Newcomen Primary School

Assessment and Feedback

At Newcomen Primary School, we recognise the importance of feedback as an integral part of the teaching and learning process and we aim to maximise the effectiveness of its use in practice.  We are very mindful of the research regarding effective feedback and the workload of written marking and of the research from cognitive science regarding new learning.

Our policy is informed by the evidence of best practice from the Education Endowment Foundation, the DfE Independent Teacher Workload Review Group: Eliminating unnecessary workload around marking and the National Centre for Excellence in Teaching Mathematics.

Marking and feedback are not the same.  While research shows that effective feedback has a very positive impact, marking is only one way of giving feedback.  As the marking of books used to happen outside of the lesson and outside of where teaching and learning took place, it was not the best way to give feedback to children.

Heavy teacher marking placed the onus of checking and improving work on the teacher, but not on the pupil.  We were concerned that this heavy duty marking and the time it was taking, meant that excessive hours were being spent marking books rather than spending time planning lessons that responded to children’s understanding.

Our Feedback Policy starts with the assumption that all children can work independently given effective input.  It gives them take up time; it lets them struggle for a bit but above all is ensures our pupils are doing the hard work not the teachers.  Our approach provides structured, relevant feedback in a meaningful way to our children.

We have an established culture in which pupils understand that making mistakes provides an opportunity to learn from these and that getting things wrongs enables us to learn.

Our Principles

  • The sole focus of feedback should be to further children’s progression through the curriculum; marking is only worthwhile if it improves our pupils’ learning.
  • To provide accurate, useful feedback to our pupils that makes a difference to their outcomes both academically and personally, and also emotionally and socially.
  • We do not provide additional feedback evidence for external verification.
  • Feedback should empower children to take ownership for improving their work; adults should not be doing the hard thinking work for the pupils.
  • Effective marking and feedback is the way we can get students to understand feedback we give and then act accordingly in response to improve their learning and make progress.
  • Children should receive feedback, either within the lesson itself, or the next appropriate lesson. The ‘next step’ is usually the next lesson.
  • We believe that analysing work for common errors and misunderstandings and using these as the basis for teaching the next lesson. Instead of writing ‘next step’s for each child, the next lesson is the next step.  Instead of spending three hours marking a pile of books, teachers may spend an hour and this includes planning the next lesson.
  • New knowledge is fragile and usually forgotten unless explicit steps are taken to revisit and consolidate learning.  Teachers should be wary of assuming that children have securely understood material based on evidence drawn close to the point of teaching it.  Teachers will need to get feedback at some distance from the original teaching input when assessing if learning is secure.
  • Oral feedback, working with pupils in class, reading their work – helps teachers understand what pupils can do and understand.
  • It is essential that pupils work as hard as their teachers.  For this to happen, teachers need to ensure their pupils need to know the right answers to these two questions:
    • What am I doing well in this subject?
    • What do I need to do to improve my work in this subject?
  • If pupils can answer these questions accurately, in subject specific detail, they are receiving effective feedback. 
  • An important element of marking/feedback is to acknowledge the work a pupil has done – to value their efforts and achievements – and to celebrate progress. There are many ways to do this without extensive marking.
  • The practice of marking needs to be manageable, meaningful and motivating. In-depth marking is not needed on every piece of work. Marking must be proportional.
  • Meaningful praise: feedback needs to be motivational yet meaningful and not overused to ill effect (Shirley Clarke 2003).
  • An effective marking strategy should not been confused with heavy duty marking and stopping extensive burdensome marking does not mean the end of feedback as feedback to pupils on their work is crucial.
  • Improving teachers’ formative assessment within lessons – so that they are responding immediately to children’s levels of understanding – reduces the amount of written marking needed. Our feedback policy needs to be part of our assessment policy.
  • Teachers use their professional judgement as to whether a written comment is needed of if verbal feedback would be more effective. It is also acceptable to just say, ‘Well done, keep this up.’
  • Teacher workload needs to be protected.
  • If we spot a misconception in a pupil’s work, we act on it straight away. Each teacher will decide the best way of giving feedback.
  • A one size fits all subjects is not appropriate; marking needs to lead to improved outcomes for subject specific context and what works best for the pupil and teacher in relation to any particular piece of work. Marking varies by age group and subject
  • Peer and self-marking (where age appropriate) allows pupils to reflect on what they need to do next
  • Metacognitive interventions – asking pupils to reflect on how they could do better, helps to develop metacognitive skills (EEF).
  • Professional trust is priceless.

Our curriculum is carefully sequenced and teachers demonstrate a high level of ambition for their pupils; the ongoing use of questioning, breaking down learning into chunks helps our pupils know, recall and remember. This allows our pupils to apply and transfer knowledge in order to complete more complex tasks and maximise children’s working memory. Repetition and reinforcement is used to secure learning into our pupils’ long term memory.  


Assessment Policy Policies & DocumentsDownload
Assessment and Feedback PolicyDownload

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