Based on a half term of 6 weeks:
2 pieces of levelled work per KS3 group = 6
1 piece of Big Write every other week per KS3 group = 9
With, say, 30 pupils in each group, the number of pieces of marking for a teacher with three groups in KS3 is:
15 x 30 = 450
Within a full term, some 900 pieces of writing for KS3 have to be turned around.
Plus the marking for KS4 and KS5, it is no exaggeration that more than 1,000 pieces of marking can be expected of a teacher teaching across all key stages.
On average, let’s say each piece of writing takes about half an hour to mark. That’s 500 hours over a 12-week period, over 40 hours per week if you intend to keep half term free. Is this target really realistic, or even sensible?
We then need to ask ourselves a few serious questions:
1. Will all this marking translate into more pupil progress than what has been achieved in the past without such high frequency of marking? What does research say? The hard question is, with this high turn-around of marking, can we sustain the quality of marking?
2. Is this marking frequency sustainable? With a full teaching commitment and other responsibilities, typical working hours can easily exceed 50 hours per week. When do we do other parts of teaching, planning and resourcing for imaginative and creative lessons? How about recording, monitoring, tracking and interventions? Researching?
3. Do we have time to mark homework and exercise books?
4. What’s the real purpose of marking?
All this calculation is only trying to find a work-work balance; nobody seems to have any time for work-life balance anymore.