Marking work twice – Are you mad?!


I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently and having just read by @kennypieper thought I would add my current position on this.

I have started to mark work twice. In particular the assessment pieces in KS3 and exam questions/tests in KS4.


Well we have a policy at our school that once a piece of work has been completed students should use green pens to improve their work. The ideal is that you’ve feedback in your marking to them exactly what they need to do to improve the piece of work so it is simple for them to have a go at improving.

green pen

The key to this is that my initial feedback relates to the next level criteria up from what they achieved first time round and is something quick and easy they can do. I’ve found in some cases writing a question that they can answer, which then hits the level, is a good strategy. In other cases, my trusty stampers do the job at KS4.

Here are some examples of feedback I give…



And then here are some examples of work that has been ‘green penned’….





Finally, I have to mark it again. Not the whole thing. Just the green pen part. I have to consider whether the additions that have been made justify them making a difference to their level/mark. So far, 99% of students actually improve. Those that don’t generally have not read the feedback carefully enough.

So here is some ‘2nd time’ marking. And look out for my wonderful new stamper with ‘Great Improvements. Well done!’ showing where they have improved their work…




An ‘easy’ win with the green pens are spellings. In my case the word ‘God’ seems to be regularly misspelt without a capital. Give out the green pens and they ‘instantly’ have improved their work.

So why doesn’t everyone do this? Well it takes time. It’s a psychological battle thinking you have to mark something twice. My argument would be that every student is making progress using this technique. What else takes them a few minutes but pushes them forwards so quickly? I record this in my mark book. Mark/Level from first draft and mark/level from second draft. Almost ‘instant’ progress within a lesson.

Even better, getting them to reflect on what they’ve actually done to improve their work helps them remember for the next time…


So, with reference to Kenny’s post, I now believe that teachers that spend hours marking student work and don’t allow students to spend time working on the guidance are wasting their time. They may as well go back to the ‘Good work’ days.


2 thoughts on “Marking work twice – Are you mad?!

  1. You are absolutely right. I’m very aware of carefully recording areas to develop then rushing on to the next thing in the hope that when students come across a similar problem they will somehow connect with feedback from days, weeks or months ago. Trying to give feedback whilst learning is ongoing, rather than waiting until it is finish, is another sensible alternative to ‘closing the circle’.

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