Simple Proforma for Checking Notes and Written Expression

One of the posts I’ve read this year that has really influenced my thinking is What do students think about marking?, by David Didau.  In it, David explains one of his main findings from panel interviews he conducted with students from a wide range of year groups:

One of the things that came out of this was that students really love written comments.  Almost universally they related that finding a written comment made them feel they’re work was valued and the longer the comment the more valued they felt.

Students like ink.  And the more of it, the better.  However, David goes on to highlight that whilst marking seems to have a motivational effect, it doesn’t actually help students to make progress.  This is something I’ve found reflected in my own experiences.

This year, the school I work at has moved to a whole-class approach to feedback.  Teachers aren’t required to mark books.  You can access some of the proformas I’ve used by clicking here.  I think the change has been successful and it’s one that I continue to fully support.  However, when I assess student work, I still tend to find myself making light annotations.  I do this to signify that I’ve actually taken the time to look at each book and, by extension, to show that I’ve taken an interest.

And so, preamble over, onto the purpose of this post… My two year 10 classes are currently studying Jekyll and Hyde.  Mostly, the lessons so far have involved detailed note-taking, retrieval practice and quizzing.  There’s no extended writing to assess at this stage and all of the work has been heavily guided by me.  However, I still want to make broad judgements on the quality of the notes and written expression, and also to signify that I care.  To save time, I created the proforma below.  You can access it by clicking here.

Teaching Proforma

There are five sections:

  1. Quality of notes
  2. Quality of presentation
  3. Quality of written expression
  4. Image of the acceptable standard
  5. Comment box.

Each student gets a sheet.  I tick the areas that I think are fine, make a note of the areas that need to be improved, and then write (very brief) general comments at the end – usually praise or reminders.   I tick the pages I’ve reviewed, but nothing more than that.  The whole process takes about an hour for a set of books.

Nothing revolutionary, but I hope it’s useful.  Should be easy to adapt –


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