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Brief Notes on Whole-Class Feedback


  1. Detailed and frequent marking is a false proxy for effective teaching
  2. Assessment of work is far more useful for teachers than it is for students
  3. Applying ink to paper isn’t entirely a waste of time

Whole-Class Feedback

  1. No panacea
  2. Saves time and allows us to do other things
  3. Prone to ‘lethal mutations’


  1. Provide specific details of what students have done well
  2. Identify common misconceptions
  3. Indicate next steps (not necessarily a ‘DIRT’ or ‘do now’ task)
  4. Provide plenty of exemplar material

Pen Work

  1. Don’t waste your time making detailed annotations or writing chunky summative comments
  2. Liberally apply ticks and add ‘good’ or ‘well done’ from time-to-time
  3. Highlight functional literacy errors


  1. Too much information
  2. Too many sections
  3. Poor formatting
  4. Vague or abstract comments
  5. Lack of follow-up or future reference

Beware of Cognitive Biases

  1. Curse of knowledge
  2. The Ikea effect

And Finally…

My suggestion is this: reduce the amount of written feedback you provide (i.e. traditional ink-on-paper marking) and invest the ‘saved’ time on useful tasks like resource creation, curriculum design and wider reading.

Click on the button below to download a one-page overview of the information in this post.


Thanks for reading –