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How AFL makes progress happen


“Marking is the least favorite part of teaching”

Most teachers would seem to say that! But effective marking is the not so secret tool in the battle towards outstanding learning!

Ways in which marking makes for outstanding learning

  • Personalises learning
  • Creates foundations for student led learning
  • Enables Progress


Those are key words and phrases used when reflecting on outstanding lessons or lamenting what is missing from a lesson that aims to be outstanding. Good AFL can help you easily build all of those into a lesson!

Effective AFL covers all bases

Really good assessment and feedback on pupils work can cover everyone of those bullet points above.

When you mark students work what you want to do is give them feedback on what they’ve done well, and give them suggestions on how they can improve their work.

What one of my colleagues always calls “What Went Well, and Even Better If”.

Tips when marking

  • Have criteria to hand to assess against
  • Use more than one colour pen
  • Use stickers to praise good work! (on any year group!)
  • Write on work or use Post-it notes
  • Clearly differentiate your comments on work done, from changes/improvements to be made
  • Sum up – no matter how many improvements need to be made always start off with something positive about the work!

“Good, effective marking praises student achievement and effort and gives students something to aspire to either in a second draft or in future work.”

Just a thought

Consider using standardised cover sheets for your feedback to help clearly signpost students to the feedback you are giving them (also good evidence for you in an inspection that meaningful AFL is taking place).


Assessment For Learning (or Assessment to Support Learning) – the name(s) say it all, your assessment (or peer assessment) are there to inform the learning. Assessment should rarely be a finality (although yes sometimes it is).


You’ve been up all night marking coursework, like a dedicated teachers you’ve marked every text, in a range of colours to show spellings to correct, criteria missed or to be more fully addressed and you’ve summarised by giving smart targets “in our next lesson you need to…”.

With all that good marking done when the following lesson starts you’re laughing! You’re lesson is set up for you by the excellent marking you did!

Students will have a range of;

  • Personalised feedback
  • Personalised targets
  • Personlaised objectives
  • ¬†And can make personalised progress!!!

Some examples of my own marking can be viewed in the gallery here…

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Marking still the worst part of the job???

CLICK for coversheet resource (coming soon)

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