A blog for students on the FDLT and BALT courses at the University of Northampton

at Leicester and UN

December 12, 2016
by Jean

OFSTED and marking

In a blog post on November 28th I discussed the recent School Inspection Update as regards deployment of teaching assistants. Also in that document was some discussion of marking:

“The last three school inspection updates have included information about our myth-busting work, including drawing attention to the reports from the DfE’s Workload Challenge review groups that looked at marking, planning and data management.
As I have said before, marking has proved to be one of the harder myths to bust. In part, this has been because we have continued to report on it extensively at some inspections, especially with reference to areas for improvement in previous inspection reports from some time ago. I remain concerned that we continue to see some inspection reporting which gives the impression that more detailed or more elaborate marking is required, or indeed that it is effective in promoting pupils’ achievement. Inspectors must not give the impression that marking needs to be undertaken in any particular format and to any particular degree of sophistication or detail; the reference to marking on page 10 of the school inspection handbook deals with this.

As both the Workload Review group on marking (March 2016)  and the Education Endowment Foundation (April 2016)  reported, there is remarkably little high quality, relevant research evidence to suggest that detailed or extensive marking has any significant impact on pupils’ learning. So until such evidence is available, and regardless of any area for improvement identified at the previous inspection, please do not report on marking practice, or make judgements on it, other than whether it follows the school’s assessment policy. Also, please do not seek to attribute the degree of progress that pupils have made to marking that you consider to be either effective or ineffective. When reporting, please do not make recommendations for improvement that involve marking, other than when the school’s marking/assessment policy is not being followed by a substantial proportion of teachers; this will then be an issue for the leadership and management to resolve” (OFSTED, 2016, p1-2).

You might find this useful to consider in relation to the marking policy of your school and specifically for FDLT year 1 students working on the PDT 1004 Assessment Project.

Link to the Teacher Workload: Marking Policy Review Group

Link to the Education Endowment Fund Resources on Marking


OFSTED (2016) School Inspection Update. Issue 8. [online] Available from: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-inspection-newsletter-2015-to-2016 [Accessed: 12th December 2016]

December 8, 2016
by Jean

Five year olds not so bad after all!

Have a listen to this article on the BBC Radio 4 program More or Less. This is another example of the popular media presenting statistical data and research in one way, and the data itself conveying something else entirely.

“Five year olds not so bad after all.
‘Shocking’ stats were revealed this week by the Department of Education. School assessments showed that just under a third of five year olds were below the expected standards for children of their age. But not only are these results not that shocking there is another reason why the statistics are not all they seem” (Harford, 2016, lines 13-19).

As a student this is a time when you would go to the data (primary source) rather than the media discussion of the data (secondary source).


Harford, T. (2016) Are you related to Edward III…or Danny Dyer? [online] Available from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b083r9x5 [Accessed: 08/12/16]

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