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To mark National Stationery Week next week (24 to 28 April) Melanie Godley, YPO’s category buyer for stationery, discusses how YPO is keeping up with the changing trends in marking schemes to ensure we meet your product needs.


From speaking with teachers I’m aware of how schools all approach marking work differently. It seems most schools have abandoned the traditional method of just using red pens, in favour of schemes such as the Rainbow Marking Scheme (RMS), and purple is also dominating the peer marking assessment.


The different schemes were introduced to classrooms to give pupils a more positive and constructive feedback method. The use of different colours enables children to more easily identify progress and achievement. The schemes also allow children to become more involved in the feedback process, by evaluating their own work, and adding comments using predominantly purple pens.


Some schools even name positive colours, such as ‘Purple for Progression’ and ‘Green for Growth’, as purple and green pens are often used to highlight learning objectives. At YPO we have seen a significant increase in sales of green and purple ball point pens and highlighter pens, as more and more schools reduce their reliance on red pens for marking.


The latest marking trend has seen a new colour enter the market - orange - which is being used in a traffic light marking system, again in each school it is being used differently. This method of marking has also seen the reintroduction of red too.


In some schools pupils can use the traffic light system to let teachers know how they found the lesson or piece of work:


Red – I found the work difficult

Amber – I found the work OK

Green – It was easy

 

At YPO we work very closely with schools, to align our stationery range with changes to working practices.


As compulsory marking guidelines haven’t been established, individual schools are given the opportunity to adopt their own approaches.

 

A primary school in London has developed a variation on the RMS approach, using yellow pens for evidence of pupils reaching milestones, and orange to indicate areas of development. They also use different techniques for each curriculum subject. They mark maths and numeracy work using the ticks and dots method. Ticks indicate that work is correct, and a dot highlights an incorrect response. A dot must always be accompanied by feedback, to help the pupil arrive at the correct response.


Some schools have even introduced marking meetings. These one on one sessions provide an opportunity to give children feedback, and make small changes to the way they work, to improve their learning.


One of the most innovative new approaches to marking is to use a feedback stamper. The teacher uses a stamp rather than a marker to provide feedback, often accompanied by comments to support the child.


YPO offers a wide range of pens, highlighters, stamps and stickers to support any marking scheme.