Let’s face it, one of the things that teachers loathe is grading. It’s time consuming, and if you fall behind, it quickly becomes overwhelming. I’ve been there! I’ve had years where my grading was always caught up and my feedback was immediate, and then I’ve had years that I was constantly playing catch up. Guess what? The years that I saw the most student growth were the years when my grading was the most expeditious.
With that being said, here are a few tips to help streamline your grading so that you aren’t pulling your hair out and grading over breaks and on weekends! (Yes, that life can be yours!)
1. When you make your unit plan, plan all of your assessments. If you do the work in the beginning, you’ll love your life in the end. When you are making unit plans, be thoughtful when it comes to that “assessment” box. How will you assess your students for this unit? How many assessments will there be? What will your formative and summative assessments?
2. If it doesn’t assess a skill, don’t assign it or don’t grade it. This is always a point of contention among teachers. Some teachers give grades for students completing tasks, but not mastering skills. This turns into grading as a means of control, not using it as an assessment tool. What are the skills that you plan to assess during your unit? Plan assignments specifically around skills, and you’ll find yourself with less grading.
3. Streamline assignments. When creating assignments and making exams, it’s important to do the following: be thoughtful when assigning tasks, and create meaningful, well scaffolded tasks. When you do those three things, you don’t have to create a lot of something because it will deliver a more powerful punch. You’ll find that you aren’t assigning a high volume of assignments, but a few assignments that are more informative and useful.
4. Manage your time. It’s easier said than done, I know! In my most efficient years, I used specific time for specific tasks. Choose a day, not a weekend, and time to grade, and STICK TO IT! Choose a day that works best for you. Consider when your lesson plans are due, when deliver assessments, when grades are due when thinking about the best day for you. It eliminates stress when you have a schedule.
These are just a few immediate fixes for overwhelming grading piles; however, there are definitely some long term fixes to this dilemma that I will definitely discuss, as that is another blog, for another day!
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