Saving Grading Time!

Do you feel like you spend all your nights and weekends grading?  If so, I have been there.  And I found a little tip that has worked for me in the past. 

Do you feel like you spend all your nights and weekends grading? If so, I have been there. I have a little tip that worked has worked for me in the past.

Take a look at my tip in the video below.

Prefer to read the transcript? I’ve got you covered!

Hi everyone! I hope everyone as well today.

So today’s teaching tip has to do with being able to cut down on the amount of grading that you’re doing. Of course, some things like grading essays you’re just not gonna get around. I’m sorry. You’ll have to carve out time to do those.

And if you are a writing teacher, you will be doing a lot of those.

But there are a few other things that you could do if you have a lot of multiple choice assessments so that you are not spending the entire weekend or at least Sunday evening at nine o’clock grading everything to try to get caught up.

One thing to do is definitely if you have parent volunteers and there are no district policies against parent volunteers seeing students’ assessments, I find it wonderful to use a parent volunteer to grade homework for me. Even better if your students use “numbers” on their work instead of names, so the volunteer actually has no idea whose paper they are looking at anyway.

Want to know more about time management strategies for classroom teachers?

Check out Teacher Life Balance Academy HERE!

I have always done a weekly homework packet. So on Fridays when the homework packets would come in, I would have a parent volunteer go through and grade the homework packets and let me know how that went.

I saved so much time and the volunteers were fantastic about checking to see which students handed in their homework and which ones didn’t – then going to talk to those students to discreetly find out where the homework was. Most of the time, the student just forgot to hand it in. It was something that I didn’t have to worry about.

Whenever I taught third grade I would use was a system called Trade and Grade.

Now, I would only use this system whenever I had an assessment that was a multiple choice assessment.

So even for my weekly reading comprehension tests from my basal series, we would use this system.

How it works: When everyone gets finished with their test they pass it up to the front. I collect them all. Then all pencils, pens, or any other kind of writing utensils are put away completely.

Next, I have them retrieve one crayon from the supply caddies with the only rule bring it couldn’t be white or yellow. Now they have a grading tool.

Then I would go through and pass back out all of the tests to different students.

Now, what I typically did was to give boys a girl’s test and girls a boy’s.

Why? Because I taught third grade and typically boys and girls weren’t best buds.

You know your students the best, and you know which ones would try to sneak through and cheat for each other. So just make sure you aren’t handing a paper to their BFF.

At the bottom of the test in the corner, I had the person grading write their initials in crayon. That way I knew who had graded the paper.

And I always told the students, if you make them a mistake and mark something wrong or miss something, I’m just might take that amount off your test.

Now, did I ever do that?

No, I never once did that because chances are, it was probably an honest mistake, but I always threatened that I would just so that they were aware of it and knew that there would be consequences if they were goofing off and not paying attention to what the correct answers were.

When they were all ready to begin, I would read the question and they had to have their finger on the correct number.

And then I would read the letter answer. Check.

If it was the correct answer, they were good and could put their finger on the next number.

If the answer was incorrect, they would take their crayon and mark a line through the letter of the correct answer so now not only do we know how many are wrong, but the correct answers were already marked as well.

Once you get your students trained to do this, it’s fantastic. S

You will go a little slower when you’re first starting, but after they understand the procedure each week, they quickly grab their crayons, mark their initials, and are ready to go.

They’re focused on you. They’re paying attention to what, what the letters are going to be called out.

Whenever all the multiple choice answers have been called, they count up how many are wrong and write “-X” at the top.

Then they pass it back to the owner of the paper.

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  • Saving Grading Time
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Now once again, if your district has a policy about privacy and students not being able to know other students grades, or if a parent complains, you won’t be able to do this. It’ll depend completely on your classroom probably from year to year (whether students are mature enough to complete this task correctly). And depending on your district and community too. So use your best judgment.

After the students get their own papers back, they were able to get immediate feedback on the test they just finished taking. They can see automatically what they received on the multiple choice portion – and I always took a few minutes to go over why an answer was correct with the class if anyone wasn’t sure why their choice was incorrect.

Plus, if I’m walking around while I’m calling out the correct answers while they are grading and I see that just about everyone has a mark next to number eight, then I make sure we go back as a class and look at that one. Real-time assessment and feedback is great.

I always saved the last two extended response answers and graded those myself.

So they didn’t really know exactly what their final score was yet.

After I have given students a few minutes to look at their scores and we discuss any questions, all the papers come back up to me before I ever put the supply caddies back on the tables.

I still don’t want pencils in anyone’s hands. Every single test has to be in my hand, before I allow the group leaders to go grab the caddies again.

Once they are all back to me, then they could put their crayons away and have their pencils.

Now, what I have is a nice stack of assessments that are, for the most part, 90% graded.

All I have to do is grade those last two questions and then come up with the final percentage and it write in my gradebook.

This method of grading works great if you have multiple choice or if you just have a quick little quiz that you wanted to do a status check for. Sometimes I would even say “trade with your diagonal partner.” They would trade real quick and check it if it’s not for a grade in the grade book.

Once you teach kids how to Trade and Grade (most likely grade 2 and up), it really takes some of the work off you and the students also benefit from immediate feedback on their assessment.

If that might not be an option for you or your school, I also asked the same question over at the Facebook Fan Page, and the fans gave plenty of suggestions as well!

Make sure to grab your freebie eBook to get all the ideas in one place.  Thanks to all the fans who participated in the Collaboration Wednesday question!

Do you feel like you spend all your nights and weekends grading? If so, I have been there. I have a little tip that worked has worked for me in the past.

What other tips could you add for taking back the grading time commitment?  We would love to hear in the comments below!


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