Whole-class feedback and triadic structures in English lessons

My GCSE groups are studying The Lord of the Flies – I like doing the same texts with them as it eases up my planning a little bit. One is slightly ahead of the other and wrote an essay on the significance of Simon in the novel. I wanted a feedback lesson that would give them the opportunity to improve their own work but which would also get them to read each other’s, as I think they often have so much to gain from this sharing.
I read all their essays, and wrote a grade on the bottom – a single number – and then produced a whole-class feedback sheet. Lots of these have been going around Twitter recently and I’ve done a few but wanted to write about the way I used this in the following lesson. I also highlighted a green and orange box on each essay
I explained the strengths and areas for development, which they had in front of them on a sheet in two boxes side by side. Next to them was a quick SPG check with bullet points for them to do – a few spellings and common grammatical errors.
Then, they had a series of red and purple pen tasks.
The red was SPG corrections, reading their own and using the bullet points at the top. Then, they were asked to underline quotations and double-underline specialist subject vocabulary – I like this step as it often demonstrates to students where they’re not remembering to do these things frequently! They were allowed a star in the margin if their use of vocabulary was beyond the basic (which we’ve classed as the ‘first thought’ techniques of imagery, metaphor, repetition etc. -aiming for the more complex. Usually words connected with form and structure are the next step up).
Using that information, and a fresh re-read, they had to use their copy of the mark-scheme to work out where their marks had come from, looking at each assessment objective. On the back they also had a photocopy of three paragraphs I’d photographed across the essays as excellent examples of each AO.
Then, we moved into groups of three. I’d allocated these while reading their essays with a combination of target grades and skills that I thought they could benefit from – so three students might have a target of an 8; one writes great evaluative introductions, one is stronger on context and one is stronger on language analysis. In their triads (I was thinking triadic structures rather than criminal gangs!) they read one another’s, looking for where the writer was doing something well in the assessment objective the reader was weaker in. On the bottom of their own essay they wrote a quick reflection or note to themselves how to improve their weakest AO. Discussing their reading with them was great, exploring what they found of value in others’ work and they all enjoyed the opportunity to read one another’s. It also got around a problem I sometimes find tricky in that I want to showcase good examples that push everybody but particularly when a less confident student is achieving say a 5, giving them a grade 9 essay tends towards the intimidating. I do show them some top grade examples across the course, but because this was specifically about improving a section of their work I wanted them in groups roughly related to their target grades.
Finally, they used a purple pen to rewrite the paragraph that had been highlighted in orange.
I’d estimate the reading of those 23 essays took around about an hour and a half, including making notes on my sheet of paper, and then maybe another fifteen minutes to put together the support sheet for the lesson itself.

What do you think?