The Purple Pen of Progress

In my opinion ‘marking for purpose’ has very little use if a student does not have time to review and improve their work base upon teacher feedback. Put simply we need to ‘make marking matter’ or else it becomes simply not fit for purpose and just becomes another box in an endless checklist of ‘things that practitioners should do’ to satisfy school policy and inevitable OfSTED inspections. Marking should be the most important thing that a teacher does as it informs both planning and assessment and allows fluid series of lessons to be taught. To this end it is vital that students are given an appropriate amount of time (Dedicated Improvement & Reflection Time – see a previous blog) to reflect upon and improve their work; this may be within the lesson or at another appropriate time. It is my belief that students should be marking their own comments against a teacher’s feedback in order to give an indication of the improvements that have been made since receiving the feedback (possibly underneath or near the original comment). This needs carefully scaffolding with all students, but especially with lower ability students in my experience. A purple pen could be used by the student to show that progress is being made. Purple could be the colour of progress, with the more purple being visible in a student’s book giving an indication as to the amount of progress that that student is making towards their specific target grade, for example. This can provide powerful visual evidence that feedback from pupils, teachers and parents is actually contributing to a pupil’s progress.

Why not give it a go using the following pupil guidance list.

Be radical – with the Purple Pen of Progress.

Read feedback carefully.

Ask if you don’t understand what is written down.

Decide which improvement you are going to make first.

Indicate which success criteria you are working on.

Colour of progress is purple – remember your purple pen!

Ask your partner to look at your improvements and to give you honest feedback.

Link your work to the feedback given by your teachers by telling them what you have done and why.


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