Grading can be super overwhelming, especially for new teachers! Don’t get bogged down when it comes to grading. There are so many ways to stay organized and save time when grading. Here are my top 5 tips for low stress grading whether you’re starting your teaching career or a seasoned veteran.
Tip #1: You don’t have to grade everything!
Whether it’s informal assessments in class or homework students complete with adult help outside of school, it’s really not necessary to grade every assignment. Homework is essentially practice, and it’s OK to take a quick temperature check with a quiz or just collect assignments for a completion grade. Many teachers only count assessments for grading purposes. This is a focus of standard-based grading. When students are progressing, proficient, or exceeding the standard, that is reflected in their grade. Don’t feel like you have to put every classroom assignment in your grade book. Think about the purpose, which is learning!
Tip #2: Don’t let assignments pile up.
Procrastination makes grading even more overwhelming! Decide which assignments you’ll grade and check them right away. Writing assessments or projects may take longer, but DON’T let them pile up. You don’t want to find yourself with multiple piles (either paper or digital) of assignments to grade at the end of a term. Give yourself a system for grading assignments in a timely manner. You may decide that you always grade objective assignments the same day and give projects or writing assignments a week (for an average sized class).
Tip #3: Let students self-check work.
Depending on the grade level you teach, it may save time and help students to grade/self-check their own assignments. The benefit to your students is that they get immediate feedback on classwork and homework. Students are able to ask questions right away, and you don’t have to spend hours grading formative work.
Tip #4: Grade at school.
Whenever I took work home, it would take me TWICE as long to grade it! There are so many more distractions in your own personal space. Netflix, family obligations, and even a comfy bed are so much more appealing than grading papers. Set aside a half an hour before or after school each day to get some grading done. It will go so much faster when you are in your classroom. Trust me!
Tip #5: Use checklists or rubrics.
Using checklists to grade assignments with objective items or rubrics for performance-based assignments or writing assignments can save you so much time. Having specific criteria for grading not only saves you time, it is more clear for parents and students when receiving grades and feedback. Grades without feedback are pointless. Students need to have timely grading and helpful feedback in order to improve their learning. The New Teacher Masterclass comes with one of my favorite grading checklists to save you time. You’ll also learn more grading tips to get you through your first year and beyond! Saving you time, one assignment at a time. :)
Grading shouldn’t make you want to quit teaching! Get through your first year (and years to come) with these 5 tips for low stress grading. You have so much to do as a teacher. Save some time on grading and spend some time focused on what really counts, building relationships, teaching high quality content, and getting to know your kids!!