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Parents’ frequently asked questions

Why do we have a marking, assessment and feedback (MAF) policy?

To enable teachers, students and parents to understand where students are in their learning and what they can do next to improve.

The full policy can be viewed here.

What we mean by the words ‘Marking’ ‘Assessment’ and ‘Feedback.’

Marking usually involves monitoring students’ classwork and homework: drawing attention to strengths in the work (e.g. where a student has met the success criteria) and any significant errors in presentation, spelling, punctuation and grammar; and pointing out gaps in understanding that are evident from looking at the work.

Assessment usually involves evaluating how well a piece of work has been done, against criteria that are known to both teacher and student. This is often done formally (e.g. formal tests, mock exams, pieces of extended written work, and practical work/performances) and usually involves judging attainment by awarding a score, level or grade.

Feedback, written and verbal, involves providing the learner with information about how well a piece of work (or test/performance etc) has been done and/or providing information about how the piece of work can be improved in the form of a task or question. The key purpose of feedback is to move learning forward (there is a separate guide, ‘Feedback at St. Ivo’, for teachers on providing high-quality feedback that moves learning forward).

How will marking, assessment and feedback be conducted?

Teachers will use a contrasting colour from the work of students. It is expected that this will typically be red. Students will respond to teacher feedback using a green pen, thereby creating a dialogue between teacher and student, thereby showing that progress in learning has occurred.

The terms ‘Strength, Action, Response’ will be used for detailed pieces of marking, assessment and feedback. It is expected that teachers will use a ‘SAR’ stamp for these detailed pieces, but discretion exists if an equivalent thematic tool is more effective e.g. a structured feedback sheet stating ‘Strength, Action, Response’.

How frequently will students’ work experience marking, assessment and feedback?

MAF varies in classwork according to key stages, the type of work, and frequency of lessons. However, every 10 lessons is a minimum expectation, and teachers will also provide each student with at least 1 piece of detailed feedback per half term, typically using the SAR (Strength, Action, Response) system. Feedback may be recorded on an appropriately significant piece of: homework; classwork; a performance; practical work; a formal assessment; a piece of coursework if permitted; an end of module test; mock exams etc. Full details are stated in the policy.

How often will a formal assessment of students’ progress occur?

This will be assessed formally at least once per term in each subject, although, as a ‘live’ system, Go4Schools allows for the recording of the outcomes from assessments at any time and in practice many teachers will record more than one mark for attainment per term on Go4Schools. Formal assessments such as end-of-module tests or ‘mock’ exams usually include a grade or level for attainment, and feedback in the form of a task or question(s) designed to move the learning forward.

Will there be opportunities for self and peer assessment?

Teachers will provide students with regular opportunities to assess both their own work and the work of others, against clear success criteria. Students will typically use the terms WWW (What Went Well) and EBI (Even Better If).

How is students’ progress tracked over time?

Teachers update the school’s online tracking system, ‘Go4Schools’, at least once per term with information about: each student’s attainment in key pieces of work such as formal tests; and the teacher’s assessment of the student’s Attitude to Learning. Go4Schools enables the school to track students’ progress over time. Teachers will record data to show whether the student is currently on-track to meet their Minimum Target in the subject, currently on-track to exceed their Minimum Target in the subject or not currently on-track to meet their Minimum Target in the subject.

Is there literacy marking?

Teachers will draw attention to errors in the first instance, rather than correcting them, as this is much more likely to result in student progress. The codes are:

Wavy line
You have made a spelling error
There is an error in your punctuation
You have made a grammar error
You need to start a new paragraph here
There is a word or words missing here
Your meaning is unclear here. You need to re-write this phrase / sentence to make it clearer
Expression issue here: look at this phrase / sentence. Think about how you can improve the way you have expressed yourself

A poster is displayed in each classroom about literacy marking codes and general marking.

Is there numeracy marking?

Teachers should draw attention to errors related to numeracy e.g. correction of calculations, graphs.

Do teachers and students focus on the presentation of their work?

Teachers will indicate where presentation of student work requires improvement. This is designed to ensure students take pride in their learning and facilitate improved understanding and progress. Guidance on presentation expectations is provided on a sticker for every student book or folder. The current expectations stated on the sticker are:

  • Write neatly along lines in black or blue pen
  • Diagrams, drawings, graphs in pencil
  • Date and title underlined with a ruler
  • Label work as classwork or homework
  • Check spelling, punctuation, grammar
  • Take responsibility and pride in my learning
  • Follow extra specialist rules for all subjects.

How is the policy monitored?

There are 3 whole school MAF work scrutiny checkpoint weeks, one per term, spaced across the school year. The Senior Leadership Team, Heads of Department, and Heads of Year are all involved in order to identify strengths and areas for improvement.