Saturday, 30 November 2013

RAG to riches!

Sorry for the awful title - couldn't resist it!

This is simply a follow up to last week's post (found here) about RAG123 marking....

Quite simply this approach to marking has been such a revelation to me that I can't shut up about it. Two weeks in and I still can't see a downside...

Key points:

  • Books are rated Red, Amber or Green for effort and 1, 2 or 3 for understanding after EVERY lesson. Ideally students self assess this and you then review.
  • Limited extra formative comments/corrections can be made but the emphasis is on keeping the process quick - remember that you can make a note and talk to a specific child or group in the next lesson rather than writing a big response.
  • A full class set should take between 5 and 15 minutes depending on the class size and the number of extra comments you make.
  • The books don't have to be reviewed on the same day, just before the next lesson.
Benefits seen for pupils:
  • Students REALLY value the feedback. They read a lot into the RAG effort grades and appreciate the differences between working hard to make progress with a difficult topic (e.g. G3) and cruising with an easy one (e.g. R1).
  • All but the very least engaged/most challenging students respond to low effort grades by increasing effort without the need for sanctions/rewards - those that participate in low level disruption reduce and stop this because they want to "get a green today". Other actions would need to be taken for the most challenging, but they stand out so much more they may come round with a bit more time.
  • Effort put into covered lessons is much higher when the class know that their work will be reviewed before their normal teacher sees them again. As a result covered lessons are more productive.
  • Students become more aware of the effort levels they are putting in and how that links to their understanding - they see success, want more of it and continue to try harder.
  • Students know that if they write a comment or question their teacher will see it and can respond either verbally or in writing in the very next lesson - student/teacher communication improves massively.
Benefits seen for staff:
  • It actually reduces workload!! 
  • It's so much easier to find a large number of 10 minute marking slots in a week than it is to find a block of 2 hours to detail mark a class set of books.
  • Much better understanding of what each individual student has actually DONE in each lesson - makes a big impact on planning for the next lesson and differentiation becomes more specific.
  • Faster response to student misconceptions/misunderstandings or lack of effort minimises the negative effects and maximises class progress.
  • I've still not found ANY!!
  • To date I know of around 20 people doing this and not a single person has said it harms their workload or doesn't benefit the students.
  • In fact so far EVERYONE who has tried it has only seen benefits both for themselves and their students!
In the last 2 weeks I've had my usual HoD timetable of 22 lessons, plus I've observed and fed back on 9 lessons from across my department meaning that my workload should have been stretched really thin. However by using RAG123 I've ended the week with ALL of my class books marked after every lesson and I've not taken a single book home to mark.

I encourage everyone - just try it, even if it's just for one group initially. If you don't see a benefit within 3 lessons with that group please let me know - I need a more balanced view of this!!

All comments/feedback welcome as always! 

1 comment:

  1. How do you decide to give a particular effort grade? How do you judge the effort separately from the outcome/correctness?