By Peter Ellis
Imagine an old-style OFSTED lesson inspection. After the lesson the only thing you really want to know is are you Outstanding, Good, Requires Improvement or …!!! Having been told your grade, any other feedback you get is just noise.
Students are the same. If you return a piece of assessed work with a grade on it, the emotional response to that grade will tend to swamp any written or verbal feedback. On the other hand, in order to track their own progress it is important that students do ultimately know their grades.
My solution is simple and routine. I mark the work and give a raw mark out of a total, but I do not release the grade boundaries until after all feedback and discussion of the paper is finished. Agreed, the student will know that 28/33 is good and 14/53 is not good, but this does not seem to have the same “Yes I’m brilliant!”/”No I’m thick!” effect that a grade does. By the time the student gets their grade, there is a better chance that they have internalised the feedback and advice.