Using Comparative Judgement in English


Since last November I have been collaborating with a handful of other schools to see if our English teams could use the nomoremarking comparative judgment approach to develop our understanding of the new 9-1 specs in English. It has been an intriguing project that has only been made possible by the fantastic teams and English leads in those schools and in my own school as well (obvs!)

We focused on AQA Paper 1 Section B (creative writing) and I would recommend trying out the process even if it is within your own team as it pays many dividends. 

What did we find out?

- that it was useful for all of our teams to see an extremely broad range of work in a relatively short space of time. A range that would not necessarily be evident within their class or even the school.

-that it was useful to create a WWW/EBI/suggested strategies sheet from all the teachers' feedback that can inform next step teaching in the classroom.

-that it was useful to see how our students performed against other schools (clearly not statistically robust but an interesting indication nonetheless).

-that it was very helpful to assess anonymous work as it removes unconscious bias as far as is possible. 

- that it was reassuring to see all our teachers were making consistent judgements. 

- that it is useful to now have a huge library of descriptive pieces at all levels to draw on for modelling purposes in the classroom.

- that it was useful to look at the final rank order and see where  specific students were and hypothesise.

- that the teaching teams were very consistent in their judgements but that when the strict AQA mark scheme was applied (by way of specifically marked pieces) it didn't quite marry up.

What next?

keep the focus on what the students need to do to be more successful in other sections of the exam e.g. reading / literature essays.

- consider how it can link to the AQA mark schemes in a useful way.

- consider how we can use this system to support a decrease in the amount of mock marking going on in English teams right now.

- consider how we can use this system to support an increase in confidence / decrease in anxiety around the new specifications.

- consider how it can be used in other subjects to support their assessment and teaching.

There is plenty of guidance on the nomoremarking site but if you want more detail on the highs and lows of practically using this please do get in touch. If you have tried it in your setting I'd love to hear how and any advice you have.

Thank you to all the teams who got involved and gave it a go! I would certainly recommend it.

Author Profile

Kathleen McGillycuddy

Kathleen McGillycuddy

DHT interested in Shakespeare, Classics and all things literacy.

36 stories


Julie Smith Julie Smith @juliesmith 9 months ago
Thanks for sharing this - I found it a fascinating process; really helped me focus closely on what good description actually means, instead of focusing solely on exam rubric. Interesting that the mark scheme didn't marry up...I can't help thinking about the recent reporting of inaccuracies in English Literature marking...
So useful to have all those anonymised models too!!
Hannah Wilson Hannah Wilson @misswilsey 9 months ago
Does this stem from Daisy C & Ark Kathleen? My colleagues who moved from Harris to Ark love it. Much more equitable & energy/time efficient!
Kathleen McGillycuddy Kathleen McGillycuddy @mcgillycuddy101 9 months ago
@misswilsey this started from me reading about Dr Chris Wheadon's work (which i think is linked Daisy C) but i have been dabbling with it over the last year to see how we can support accurate assessment plus more efficient ways of marking.
Kathleen McGillycuddy Kathleen McGillycuddy @mcgillycuddy101 9 months ago
@juliesmith Thx for taking part. I wish it was clear cut when linked to mark schemes but that was not to be. Your comment about focusing on what good writing is, is spot on - that's what we should be developing!
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