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To feel that this is an inappropriate way of providing feedback

(60 Posts)
Brokenbiscuit Sat 26-Nov-16 08:13:12

DD has recently started secondary school and is in year 7. So far, she is settling in really well and we're mostly very happy with the school.

However, there doesn't appear to be much consistency with regard to the marking of work (both classwork and homework). Each teacher has their own approach. The French teacher seems to mark regularly and thoroughly. The maths teacher gets the kids to mark their own work and then tell him their results. The geography teacher gives verbal feedback and makes the kids write it down. All acceptable approaches in my view. The English teacher has marked nothing and given no feedback of any sort on classwork or homework since the start of term. Not acceptable in my view. And then there is history.

The history teacher gives each child a single page of A4 to stick in their books, the same sheet for everyone. The sheet highlights common errors and misconceptions (fine), reminds students of presentation requirements (also fine) and then lists students who have done well and students whose work is "cause for concern". This looks like public humiliation to me, and I'm struggling to see how it's OK.

DD received the first sheet for her class yesterday. Her understanding was that it covered everything they had done since the start of term, not just one piece of work. Her name was listed in a box called "praise", along with around five other kids. There was no indication of what they were being praised for or what they had done well - just a general "well done", which is nice but not particularly helpful for the future. Then there were two names listed in a box called "cause for concern", with a comment that their work wasn't of Set 1 standard.

AIBU to feel that this is grossly unfair for the poor kids who have their names publicly listed in the "cause for concern" box? I feel very uncomfortable about it; DD is not bothered, however. Her view is that she would rather have feedback of this nature than none at all, and she says that teachers might make verbal comments in class about a poor standard of work that all of the other kids would hear anyway. I asked her if she would be upset to see her own name listed in that box, and she said that she would, but more because of the poor feedback rather than any public humiliation.

AIBU to feel that this kind of naming and shaming is unacceptable? Or am I being precious and is this just an efficient way of providing feedback and keeping the kids on their toes?

Trifleorbust Sat 26-Nov-16 08:18:48

That is inappropriate. It's not helping those children to improve their work. and the listing of those who have handed work of a poor standard seems unnecessary. However, I don't think it amounts to seriously 'shaming' the children unless they are really sensitive.

Brokenbiscuit Sat 26-Nov-16 08:21:23

Fair enough, maybe "shaming" is too strong a word. I was a sensitive kid.

Trifleorbust Sat 26-Nov-16 08:24:07

No, I don't think it is too strong. I don't think this is great practice because the risk that the more sensitive children will respond badly hasn't been considered. But most children are probably robust enough to take the feedback on the chin - the work isn't good enough, pull up socks - so the teacher might have decided it's a calculated risk to demand a higher standard. Still, not an approach I would adopt myself.

Brokenbiscuit Sat 26-Nov-16 08:31:34

Interesting Trifle. Will just have to hope that the kids who were singled out are robust enough to take it!

Trifleorbust Sat 26-Nov-16 08:33:01

You don't have to do that. You could raise the issue with the Head of History or Head of Year if you feel strongly about it.

FloweryTwat Sat 26-Nov-16 08:36:56

I wasn't a sensitive child, but if I had received that I would have been devastated. Regardless of whether it was a subject I was good or weak at.

I would raise it, there is no way someone would get away with doing that where I work (Civil Service), it would be seen as bullying!

Tomselleckhaskindeyes Sat 26-Nov-16 08:38:02

Well I'm a tutor/assessor/quality assured and there is a law called the data protection act so that feedback is private between tutor and student. If the student chooses to show it to others then that's ok. They are actually breaking the law.

Trifleorbust Sat 26-Nov-16 08:38:25

FloweryTwat: Devastated? Wow.

impostersyndrome Sat 26-Nov-16 08:43:34

As someone who always bumped along the bottom of class in a school that valued nothing but academic attainment, I would have found that humiliating, especially as I'd always be in that same box. Unacceptable. And yes, possibly illegal.

AmberEars Sat 26-Nov-16 08:46:36

YANBU. I'm all for a bit of healthy competition but I think that is an awful approach.

Trifleorbust Sat 26-Nov-16 08:49:34

Riiight, the teacher is breaking the law. Which part of the law?

This is exactly why my response was somewhat equivocal. I agree it is not beat practice, but some people seem determined to race to the most extreme reaction possible when there is any suggestion that something that happens in a school may not be ideal.

Trifleorbust Sat 26-Nov-16 08:50:08


impostersyndrome Sat 26-Nov-16 08:51:20

Trifleorbust The Data Protection Act

Trifleorbust Sat 26-Nov-16 08:55:00

impostersyndrome: Where does it say telling people that students' class work isn't good enough is a breach of that Act? It might do but I just can't see it somehow, because it is daft and disproportionate.

Brokenbiscuit Sat 26-Nov-16 08:59:45

You don't have to do that. You could raise the issue with the Head of History or Head of Year if you feel strongly about it.

Thank you. I guess I'm not sure how strongly I feel about it, which is why I posted on here for other views.

I don't want to be one of those parents, who rushes into the school about every little trifling thing. Also, I'm not sure if it's my place to raise it, given that DD a) isn't bothered be b) will most likely end up in the "praise" box every time in any case. I'm mostly concerned about the impact on other kids, but perhaps I'm overthinking it and I should stop worrying about hypothetical upsets that may never happen.

I'm also conscious that dd is far more bothered by the fact she has had no feedback in English at all, so if anything, perhaps I should raise that with the Head of Year. But still, the history thing niggles me, so I'm not really sure.

Trifleorbust Sat 26-Nov-16 09:02:59

My advice is to ask for a copy of the school's marking policy. It is unlikely (but just about possible) that marking is totally at the discretion of the member of staff, but I would be surprised. Once you have the policy you can compare what is being done with the requirements of the policy and query it if appropriate.

Brokenbiscuit Sat 26-Nov-16 09:03:59

I certainly wouldn't be rushing into school all guns blazing. I have immense respect for teachers in general and think they do a really difficult job. I've no doubt that it's hard to find an efficient and effective approach to marking. I'm just not convinced that this is the right solution.

greenfolder Sat 26-Nov-16 09:04:59

Please raise it. You are not one of those parents. This is lazy and unfair

Brokenbiscuit Sat 26-Nov-16 09:06:53

Trifle, my impression from dd is that the individual departments have separate marking policies. (There has been some mention of these in the surveys that have been carried out in a couple of subject areas.)

Who would I ask for those policies - the heads of the relevant departments? Would I need to say why?

impostersyndrome Sat 26-Nov-16 09:07:00

Trifleorbust you're right of course - and I couldn't possibly know about the formal legality angle. I suppose the point I'm making is that given that the school has responsibilities under the DPA in processing personal data, that this seems to not be in its spirit. Putting that aside, it's a damned humiliating way to give feedback , which could be easily replaced by other means.

Trifleorbust Sat 26-Nov-16 09:08:08

Yes, ask the Heads of departments and no, there is no need to say why. A school policy should definitely be available to whoever asks.

Trifleorbust Sat 26-Nov-16 09:08:48

impostersyndrome: I am not sure I agree that it is 'damned humiliating' but I agree it isn't ideal.

FinallyHere Sat 26-Nov-16 09:09:21

Absolutely, don't rush into anything, but as the parent of a child consistently praised, your feedback that this is not helpful may be listened to, in a way that others may not be. Starting with the school's policy seems like a good way forward. Lets hope it contains ideas of positive reinforcement....

Ohyesiam Sat 26-Nov-16 09:10:07

I had a parents evening this week, and I noticed how the tutor always covered everyone else's grades when showing us stuff on paper. Which send the right approach all round, and I assumed to do with data protection.
In your shoes i would raise my concerns.

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