Grading students’ work is a necessary part of any teacher’s job. However, it can be time-consuming and take away from other important aspects of education, too.
Thankfully, there are grading strategies you can apply to better manage your time. To be efficient with your time, you have to have a plan for keeping grading to a minimum. When you apply effective grading strategies to your grading routine, you can save time and focus more on teaching.
Here are some effective, time-saving grading strategies to try:
1. Plan Ahead With Scheduling
When you teach multiple subjects, grading can get complex and time-consuming. Completing grading without an organized method can lead to wasted time as your work schedules can easily overlap into other activities.
Instead of randomly completing tasks as you think about them, consider scheduling set times throughout your work week to get grading done. Map out assignments, projects, and tests on a calendar. Then assess if there is enough of a scheduling gap to efficiently grade students’ work.
2. Place Trust in Peer Grading
A great timesaving shortcut you can add to your system is to allow students to grade one another’s work, such as homework, drafts and quizzes. In addition, make it clear to students that they can come to you with any questions or concerns.
Having students review their peer’s draft work can help you save time during grading by letting you scale the grading process instead of you handling each individual student’s drafts.
3. Set a Timer
A timer is a great way to self-pace your grading, so you don’t waste time on editing or writing. You can use a timer to compete against yourself and see if you can stay on target or beat the previous time it took you to grade your paper.
For instance, if you’re grading a set of 20 papers, you can pace yourself by using a timer with a lap button to determine how long it takes you to grade that first set. In the second batch, try to match or beat that time.
4. Create a System That Works for You
Take a cue from the grading system of Due Season Press and Educational Services founder and The Cornerstone for Teachers blogger Angela Watson. Put in place and make a system that works for you, such as using an organized file tracking system for grading papers you take home.
For example, sort papers based on status, such as incomplete or makeup work. Also, choose a comfortable environment where you can grade papers, such as your home office or a library study room.
5. Create and Use Rubrics
Creating and using a rubric prior to assigning work is a great way for students to see what is required to achieve the best grade possible. Attach the grading rubric to assignments and highlight it after grading. These tactics help students gain clear directions on how to achieve higher grades, which can help you save time in the long run.
In addition, having a clear grading criteria will make decrease grading time required. If you know what you are looking for and are able to search and spot if certain criteria has been done or needs improvement, you will grade more efficiently.
6. Alternate Formats
Fill in the blanks might sound great but changing some of the assignments to multiple choice or true/false can drastically reduce grading time. Consider using a color coding system in your calendar when scheduling your block time to quickly identify where you spend the most time to see if this format is working for you.
7. Don’t Grade What Doesn’t Need Grading
This may seem obvious, but some assignments exist for practice or review ﹘ not for contributing to grades. Save time grading by only grading what’s necessary. Leave practice tests or review assignments alone to gain back time.
Looking for more time-saving tips?
Check out these 5 Education Podcasts (Actually Worth Listening To), including the Ten-Minute Teacher Podcast.