Friday, February 24, 2017

A eureka moment in marking!

Whatever the latest advice is about how we are supposed to mark, all I want to do is mark my students' books as effectively and as efficiently as I can. In our department, we use a blue highlighter to identify mistakes. When we hand the books back, we do a whole class activity, looking at common errors which is followed by a 5-10 minute independent mistake correcting activity. This works well, however sometimes you want to sum up the areas that they need to focus on and this takes time to write in their books.

I recently happened upon a marking system called Mark Mate, which costs £89 (not including the sticky labels). This is a system whereby you speak comments into a device as you are marking a book and it prints out a label, containing all of your comments, so that you can stick it straight in. Apart from the price, I thought it was a brilliant idea; there is a video on the website showing us how little time it takes to mark books in this way.

However, being a cheapskate, I thought I could come up with something and just before half term I did. It's not perfect, but it seems to work.

I use Google Drive (My school has it) and on Google Docs there is an option to use Voice Typing, which is actually relatively trouble free. I make a table, with a section for each child and as I mark their book, using my blue highlighter, I record my comments in the table. Occasionally it doesn't 'hear' what you say, but on the whole it is fast and it allows me to make longer comments than I would do normally, because let's face it, no-one has enough time to write lengthy comments. I then print the page off, cut it up and either hand out the bits of paper to the students who stick their own comments in, or I do it myself, depending on how much time I have.

I tried to do a video so you could see how I do it, but it refused to upload, so all I've got is this photo!

Once you have created the table on Google Docs, click on 'tools' and then 'Voice typing' and you will get a little microphone like the one above. To start voice typing, just click on it and it will turn red. Obviously you need a microphone to do this. On my Chromebook, there is one built in. I stop it after each comment, so that I can continue marking without it picking up any voices (Particularly when I am talking to myself!).

It's not a sophisticated, flawless system, but it seems to be working for me and I thought I'd share it!


  1. Great idea. Thanks for sharing. Our school policy might be a little too prescriptive for this to be as useful as it could be but I love the ease of this and the ability to personal for each student.

    1. Hi Amanda. Thanks for your comment. I just felt that I wanted to comment more on work, but as usual, time waits for no teacher! We have stickers etc, but I think that this is quicker and easier. I hope that you are able to give it a go and that it can fit in with your school policy. I'm going to try and use it as much as I can. There is of course the added benefit of you also having a permanent record of the comments you made, so you can keep tabs on how they're doing. It's win win!