Maths Without Limits
Opening Young Minds to Endless Possibilities
Stop Check Marking

Children are often left to complete a whole page of work and then get it marked at the end of the lesson.  This has several disadvantages:

  • There is the danger that a child who is not secure in a particular skill will produce a whole page of errors – this can both demoralise the child and reinforce wrong thinking, which will make it harder for the child to master this skill
  • A child may get everything right, but may have wasted valuable learning time, working for a whole lesson at a level that is too easy
  • Marking may be done by the teacher once the lesson is finished and the child may not get it returned until the following day – there is then no time for the child to engage with errors and secure understanding before the learning moves on to a new area

If you have a well established culture where children see their mistakes as learning opportunities, then you can solve this problem easily using Stop Check Marking where children stop frequently to get feedback on their work and to assess how they are doing.

The important thing here is to understand the principle – how you apply it will depend on the age of your pupils, their maturity and the activity.  Essentially it goes as follows:

  • Stop after a small number of questions (this could be anything from one to five questions depending on how complex they are)
  • Mark them (this can be done as a whole class, by pupils working in groups, or individually)
  • Inspect errors thoroughly (either individually, as a class or in groups)
  • Decide whether to continue with the same activity or to change track (this decision may be made by a teacher, by a group of pupils working together, or by an individual pupil working alone)