Stories are worth more than marks

I am marking GCSE narrative controlled assessments and experiencing a rainbow of emotions: self-pity for the fact that I am slumped here doing it on a rain-soaked Sunday, defeat in the face of repeated basic errors, and amusement at some of the antics of the characters.  

About half-way through, I have tears in my eyes.  I am touched by a mother’s bereavement and the writer’s success in shaping my response to it.  And then I consider the mark, and feel shame – and more sadness – when I realise how low it may be.  The weighting given to technical accuracy in the new criteria has hammered it down to at least a grade lower than common sense says it deserves (and lower than it would have been awarded last year). 

Of course, as his teacher I am partly responsible for his lack of full stops, and I will be having a word with him about this next lesson, but this year the goal posts have been moved, and we have been given no chance to practise.  I feel sorry for this pupil and his peers, and just hope that I can help them see that their stories are worth telling, no matter what the mark.



One thought on “Stories are worth more than marks

  1. Praise the bits that are deserving of praise. Offer positive criticism, advice and guidance where it is needed. If it doesn’t get the grade that you feel it deserves, explain to your pupil exactly why this should be. Don’t put a hyphen between full and stop.

    C U soon

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