Marking tests with red coloured pens could upset students

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SummaryKids think they’ve been assessed more harshly when their work is covered in red ink.

Teachers should stop using red pens to mark homework and tests as it could upset the students, researchers suggest. A study showed that kids think they’ve been assessed more harshly when their work is covered in red ink compared to more neutral colours like blue, the Daily Mail reported.

Sociologists Richard Dukes and Heather Albanesi from the University of Colorado told the Journal of Social Science that the red grading pen can upset students and weaken teacher-student relations and perhaps learning.

In 2008, hundreds of schools banned teachers from using red ink to correct work because they considered it “confrontational” and “threatening”. But Chris McGovern, chairman of the Campaign for Real Education, slammed the findings saying that in his experience of 35 years in teaching, children actually prefer teachers to use red ink because they can read comments more easily.

He thinks the research is misguided. The problem with using a colour like green or blue is that it’s not clear, he said. Red associated with warning, prohibition, caution, anger, embarrassment and being wrong, according to researchers from the University of Colorado.

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