Enjoy more time to yourself and less time grading

How many of you spend your entire weekend grading? Don’t you wish that your grading could be done in less time?  As educators we spend all hours of the day spending time grading student’s work therefore leaving us very little time for ourselves.  So, what can we do to free up more of our precious time and still assess students?

3 Basic TIPS TO HELP YOU reduce your grading time

1. Plan for less grading:  When you plan your lessons, consider the ratio of activities that require teacher assessment.

One way to do this is to reorganize your teaching into three different stages: explanation and modeling, guided practice, and finally independent practice. All the practice, apart from the last stage of independent practice, is assessed by using mainly closed questions those that are answered with multiple choice answers, word bank, T/F. Once students produce answers to open-ended questions such ananlze, or summarize, they have had plenty of practice on other assessments, and there’s little to correct, therefore making grading go by much quicker allowing for more time for you.

2. What is the overall impact?

In terms of impact, will student learning be transformed by my grading this? Will I have time in the next lesson to allow students to reflect deeply on my feedback? Will I make them produce something that proves that they have learned from it? If the piece is marked for any reason other than impact, then it needs to be replaced by a different activity.  Some of us assign so much work for students that well can be considered fluff, but we still need to assess it.  This then adds to the stress of us grading something that really doesn’t mean anything to anyone, nor does it beefit the students’ learning.

The old saying does apply here “less is more.”  If I can create an assignment that has a maximum impact on students that reduces my overall grading I am going to use it.  So imagine if we spend all of our time grading assignment after assignment, imagine how a student must feel with completing each piece of paper or electronic copy you given them.  Put yourself in your students’ shoes or desks.  Do you think the assignment or assessment measures what you want them to get out of it, is there a different way of seeing if they understand the material?

3. How about the use of a rubric?

This does take some time to create or you might even be lucky enough to have someone else create it for you as long as it fits what you are assessing. This should include the criteria needed for earning each letter grade, or if you are on standards-based grading, what you want the students to master. Provide all of your classes with a student-friendly visual version of this sheet and go over what it means so they have an idea of what you are looking for. The rubric is attached to every assessment. Ask your students to use the rubric on their work before they submit it to you. You might be surprised at the quality or work improving once again reducing the time it takes for you to grade.

Let’s hope that in 2021, a year of promise, we as educators can still assess our students all while saving our precious time.