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Effective Grading Strategies and Marking Strategies to Save You Time

Nov 10, 2023
Grading strategies Edmentum International article

If you’re a teacher, that probably means you’re very used to lots of marking!

Grading not only shows students where they are with a piece of work, errors they’ve made and areas that they’ve achieved well in, but it also helps them with grasping a subject area; although, we understand it can often take a lot of time and sometimes feels like you’ve too much marking to do.

Well… we want to help! Take a look at some of our effective grading strategies and marking ideas below to help you reduce your grading and save yourself some time:

1. Schedule grading time

If you teach multiple subjects, grading could become tricky and time-consuming to keep on top of. Completing grading without an organized method can lead to wasted time as your work schedules can easily overlap into other activities you have going on throughout the day.

To help you save time, you could consider scheduling set times throughout your workweek to complete grading, by mapping out assignments, projects, and tests on a calendar.

2. Student self-grading

Another effective method of grading is to encourage students to work together in pairs or small groups to evaluate each other’s work, such as, homework, drafts and quizzes.

This will show that you have confidence in your students to identify areas that need improvement, and will help to build confidence where they can offer their peers advice to help build their knowledge. Once this is complete, you can quickly review the feedback and answer any questions students may have.

3. Set a threshold

Sometimes, you may come across an assignment where a student hasn’t demonstrated what you’re looking for to reach the objectives of the topic. If this occurs, it may be best to speak to the student, make sure they understand the objectives and then ask them to relook at the work they’ve done and offer pointers for improvement.

This helps you, as it saves time having to mark the same piece of work from the beginning, but also the student, as they’ll know the areas they need to focus on to meet the objectives. Don’t forget that communication and collaboration are key to academic success and effective grading strategies!

4. Think about the bigger picture

It’s easy to get caught up in grading every little piece of an assignment that students turn in, but educators, of all people, know that if students are struggling through their homework, they’re going to need more individualized instruction or assistance in order to move forward, instead of getting back a paper covered in red Xs. 

Consider stopping the grading of an assignment if you can tell that students are missing the mark, and offer suggestions for improvement, resources to learn more, and even dates for students to redo the assignment. If you’re realizing that students aren’t grasping the bigger picture or purpose of an assignment, it’s worth no one’s time for you to continue grading.

5. Give more meaningful assignments

We get it—this is a great idea, but it’s difficult to implement in practice. It’s easy to get caught up in assigning your students a bunch of work to test their knowledge; however, you probably eat up your valuable time going through each assignment with little reward. 

We understand that you thought the assignments were a good idea at the time! Don’t get frustrated. Take a moment to breathe, step back, and ask yourself, “Is this actually helping my students learn?” Quality over quantity is best, and this certainly applies to the assignments that you give your students.

6. Incorporate group assignments

The ability to communicate, collaborate, and work together as a group are skills that are essential to future success, no matter what students pursue after graduating. Incorporating more group work into the mix will not only help students develop this essential skill but also alleviate some of the stress for you when it comes time to grade. 

Now, there’s an important caveat that educators must remember when implementing this strategy: make sure that individual participation is still considered when grading, and make that expectation clear for students. Be sure to set up the necessary safeguards for when those all-too-familiar situations arise where one student (or a few students) doesn’t contribute equally to a project (or at all).

7. Use rubrics to set your expectations

Use a rubric for those longer-form assignments, like essays, to set your expectations for students from the beginning. Choose specific areas to cover in the rubric, and make the rubric available throughout the entire time that your students work on an assignment. A rubric will help cut down on the complaints from students because they will know exactly where they lost points.

Have you explored our suite of solutions? They cater for many teaching and learning needs and can help you save time with grading. Explore them today!

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