red ink to blue ink for marking

Should you switch from red ink to blue ink for marking?

A few years ago, a US study suggested that teachers should stop using red pens because the colour is associated with ‘warning, prohibition, caution, anger, embarrassment and being wrong’.

The research revealed that students think they’ve been assessed more harshly when their work is covered in red ink compared to other colours. It could even have a negative impact on teacher-student relationships and learning outcomes.

News of the report was met with ridicule by many, including Tory MP Bob Blackman who said: “It sounds to me like some petty edict which is nonsense. It is absolutely political correctness gone wild.”

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Teacher Workloads

Teacher Workloads in England

In October, the Department for Education (DfE) published its Teacher Workload Survey for 2019, which attempts to act as a national ‘barometer’ for teachers’ working conditions. It also forms a key part of the DfE’s commitment to improving the evidence base on what drives unnecessary teacher workload and what works to reduce it.

Throughout the DfE’s report, which gathered results from a nationally representative survey of teachers over a three-week period, comparisons are made to the same publication in 2016.

Despite small wording changes to the 2019 survey, and efforts to minimise response bias, it is now possible to ask the question, “Teacher Workloads in England – Are They Improving?”

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Teacher Marking

Revolutionise Your Marking Workload

Despite the fact that many teachers believe marking is necessary to provide children with valuable feedback and help them improve in the future, Ofsted doesn’t share the same sentiment.

In a myth-busting factsheet, Ofsted said it “does not expect to see any specific frequency, type or volume of marking and feedback; these are for the school to decide through its assessment policy.”

In other words, as long as schools get the required results out of students, marking isn’t absolutely essential.

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