I’m realising I did it for me, not for the pupils.
I'm writing this post as part of the conversation about marking, and how useful it is. In this post by @jo_facer, Jo talks about how she doesn't mark students' work, but rather makes notes as she reads their work, and then gives feedback to the whole class on the main issues, which they act on.
I would agree we can get as good a picture of what the students need help on without putting our marks on their work, and I can see that it might indeed be beneficial not to do so. I also agree that marking is time consuming, especially if we write the same comment on many pieces of work.
So why are we putting our pen to their paper?
I thought about this as I marked some AS Maths work today - exam problems on C2 radians, circles and triangles. As I marked it, I too made notes, like Jo. There were those who had not completed it, those who I would need to speak to in person as (it appeared) they had not really understood the underlying concepts, and those who might be able to help others as they appeared to have a more secure understanding. There were also common errors that a number of students had made, which I too decided to discuss with the whole class.
However, there were also a multitude of individual and specific errors/issues that I wanted to highlight to each student. I could make notes about each of these and go round to each student individually to talk about them, but this would not be feasible. Alternatively, I could ignore these issues, and only focus on the main ones, but this would be doing a disservice to my students - the detail matters, especially at A-level.
So, surely the most effective (only?) way to share this information with each student is to make a note on their work and ask them to revise their solution? I use the approach of putting a star next to the issue, perhaps with a comment/hint if required; students then spend the start of the next lesson working together to revise their solutions, creating a second version, improving on the issues that are specific to them.
How could I do this effectively without marking their work?