Ideas one and two…

Idea 1: Joe Kirby and Katie Ashford’s DIRT marking every lesson.

The idea

Joe Kirby asked the question ‘what if we marked every day?’ and gave a method for doing just that without collapsing with exhaustion. The idea is to scan work and assign it one of three colours and mark it with this colour.

The teacher then assigns each colour a development task the following lesson in which students can have Dedicated Improvement and Reflection Time (I think these are the words of the acronym). Katie and Joe promised that it would take mere minutes. It did. Four minutes for a GCSE class set. Very impressive. I have yet to hand it back but here is my evaluation thus far from a practical point of view.




1. It is quick. Very quick.

2. It really gave me a chance to think about how to stretch my most able students as this is something I worry about in my mixed ability classes.

3. It provides nice linking activities thereby providing a sequential system of work which is nice when teaching History.



1. Although it is quick to do, it took me AGES to think of questions to ask. I guess this is something that will improve over time though.

2. Remembering to do it and not to let them take their books home (all students at my school keep their books or files with them) which is now an automatic routine.


It is clear that, practically at least, the pros outweigh the cons of this idea and it is something that I am going to adapt. I have the class on Wednesday and am giving them paper the same colour as the highlighter to respond on. I think this will give a good visual representation for me to check progress and who is making more progression as the term goes on.

Check back tomorrow to see how DIRT feedback went!


Idea 2: Essay Marking Grid courtesy of a recent course from Keynote Educational

The idea

I went on a course before half term focusing on teaching AS History although I think that this idea could be translated across subjects.

The grid consists of success criteria for each grade as well as three columns ‘Sustained’, ‘Sometimes’ and ‘Rarely’ which I ticked off appropriately as I was marking and then highlighted targets on the success criteria that were missing or in the ‘Rarely’ category.



1. Really focused my marking and linked it firmly to exam criteria which I think made it more effective.

2. Targets are clear and it is easy for students to then ask questions/ see where they need to go i.e. from ‘Rarely’ to ‘Sustained’ on each criteria.

3. Students can see themselves progressing as the ticks (hopefully) move each time work is marked. This means although they may be getting a B grade each time, they can see that it is getting higher and what they are missing from the A band.



1. If you have a photocopying budget and large classes this will result in a lot of paper.

2. It adds a couple of minutes onto marking each piece which, again, if you have large classes may inhibit how regularly you do it and therefore its effectiveness. I used it with a Sixth Form class of ten students so it was manageable.


Will I keep doing it? Yes. The students responded well and I like the focus it gave to my marking. In the future I am going to ask them to redraft the work (a la @learningspy David Didau) and I will ‘re-tick’ the same sheet with a different colour there by (again, hopefully) demonstrating progression in a really concrete way to the students as they can see the ticks moving.


One of my former colleagues has joined my challenge: you can read about his ideas and evaluations here – and we hereby challenge others to join us!

Any new ideas very welcome here or on @annebradshaw88.


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