The #1 Curriculum and Assessment Partner for Educators

4 Grading Hacks to Save You Time (and Sanity)

4 Grading Hacks to Save You Time (and Sanity)

There are many enjoyable (an unenjoyable) parts of every job, but most educators would probably agree that grading is one of the most frustrating, time-consuming, and nuanced parts of their job. And, while some technology has made educators’ lives a lot easier, there’s truly nothing compared to the detailed, individualized feedback that educators can give when they manually grade an assignment.

Luckily, there are many educators who have figured out the best hacks when it comes to saving time when grading, and we’re going to share four of them with you today. Let’s get started.

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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).

4. 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.

Looking for more strategies to help you save valuable classroom-prep time? Check out these five lesson-planning tips to help you reclaim your weekend!