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Penzance academy teachers throw out their red pens

By cmjohnw  |  Posted: March 19, 2014

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Penzance academy teachers throw out their red pens

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Those traditional red ink marker pens, dreaded by students and so beloved by teachers, have become a thing of the past at Mounts Bay Academy.

Headteacher Sara Davey said that from now on there will be a new marking system using green and purple pens.

All teachers will be expected to make their marking comments/feedback in green pen while students are being asked to comment on teachers’ feedback using purple pen.

Vice principal Jennie Hick told The Cornishman: “Switching to the new marking system is certainly not about us going all soft and fuzzy.

“Students make more progress if it is a dialogue and the new system is designed to help that. A teacher will make two or three positive comments about a student’s homework and point out perhaps one thing that will take them to the next stage.

“A lot of us in the past have skimmed over the teacher’s comments and just looked for the final overall mark but by asking students to respond with purple pen forces them to read the teacher’s comments and helps them to create a real conversation.”

“A lot of primary schools are already using a similar system amazingly well and I think it was felt that red ink was a very negative colour.”

However Chris McGovern, chairman of the Campaign for Real Education, said: “In my own experience of 35 years in teaching is that children actually prefer teachers to use red ink because they can read comments more easily.

“The problem with using a colour like green or blue is that it’s not clear.

“A lot of schools seem to have a culture where they don’t like criticising children but actually this helps them.”

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