Simon Marriott was the presenter for Thursday 23rd April 2015. His snappily titled session, RAG against the machine, followed on from Meg Sayfoo’s RAGS to Riches session and provided an alternative perspective about the use of RAG marking.
Simon contextualised how he came to his current practice of using live RAG marking in classrooms. He explained how he was looking for a method that would allow him to provide fast feedback, have immediate impact and support students in making further progress.
He likened his usual progression through the year to the following pictures below, I wonder how many of us share his feelings…?
For those who do not know Simon, he is quite a tall chap and I will now view the lightsaber in the corner of his room with some suspicion until I have seen him and Darth Vader in the same room!
Simon explained how he makes use of live RAG marking to do the following:
- Provide fast feedback
- Assess understanding
- Identify misconceptions
- Guide students back towards the right answer without compromising student independence.
The way in which Simon does this is by using highlighters to quickly mark a students work as they are completing it. Some key findings were:
- Students respond very well to see affirmation of their work being correct / good. (Green)
- Using red is sometimes demotivating, amber is better in a live situation.
Simon ensures that students have the opportunity to go back and adjust work after the live RAG marking has taken place. This helps to reinforce that learning is a process and effort doesn’t stop if your first attempt is not quite correct.
It became clear through Simon’s session that live RAG marking is only part of the process. The real value is in the short conversation that it prompts; RAG provides the stimulus and then the teacher / student dialogue closes the feedback loop and facilitates the next steps, leaving a key prompt in the work for the student to reference. Of course the fact that this can be a real time saver doesn’t hurt either…!
As with all things Simon was at pains to point out that regularity of use helps to support students in making the most of this strategy and that caution should be exercised if applying this technique to assessed pieces of work.
So this is another element to our RAG journey. If you would like more info on RAG marking try the twitter hashtag #RAG123