Sunday, 23 January 2011

Teachers Rack Up the Miles as ‘Drive Marking’ Hits New High
Over two weeks into the New Year and an estimated 200,000 sets of books remain unmarked despite a Christmas holiday period that saw UK teachers transport marking around the country an average of 457 miles – a new UK record - claims a report by assessment climate watchdog Marking Miles UK.
According to Peter Right, the recent surge in the number of miles travelled by unmarked work is down to a steep rise in the number of teachers who now believe that transporting heavy sets of marking to friends and relatives over a holiday period can actually make the marking happen:
“There have always been a small number of teachers who believed that it was enough to just put the marking into the boot of their car and ‘drive mark’ and this was always particularly noticeable at Christmas due to seasonal optimism.  What we are seeing now is an unprecedented rise in the number of teaching professionals who actually believe they can get their marking done by simply driving it around to other people’s houses and carrying it to and from the boots of their cars.”
Peter would like to see much more done by the GTC to educate teachers that moving sets of books around doesn’t actually mark books and has already set up an awareness campaign called  ‘You Need A Pen In Your Hand To Mark A Set Of Books’.  Jane Lovell attended one of the sessions:
“When I was at teacher training college there was a rumour going around that if a set of books clocked up 400 miles in the boot of your car they could be considered marked – if you had the right tyre pressure.  None of my tutors ever said anything to suggest it wasn’t true.”
And according to History teacher David Searle it’s not just teaching colleges that are to blame.  David attended a course on assessment in 2006 and was surprised to be told by the advisor that if you didn’t have time to mark a set of books the next best thing was to carry them to and from the boot of your car over a three week period:  “It seemed like a reasonable thing to do; I had no idea that the books weren’t being marked.  I definitely feel that teachers deserve more training in assessment.”
Meanwhile Roger Trend, Head of Marking for Greenpeace, has claimed that UK marking is among the least environmentally friendly in the world and urged teachers to check the boots of their cars for ‘forgotten’ sets of books.  “Avoiding marking by ’losing’ a set of books and handing out new ones has always been an attractive option for teachers,” he said yesterday, “but the Amazon Rainforest is not big enough to go on meeting this demand.”
James Andrews, The Bitter Root: Educating the Wayward Scholar