Good Grade-Keeping Tips for Teachers

Facing a stack of papers that need grading is a nightmare for many teachers, but the work is necessary to assess students' understanding of the material. Grading papers and keeping up with students' grades can be an arduous task. Teachers can simplify grading by creating a simple plan and sticking with it throughout the school year.

  1. Choose a Simple System

    • Use a simple grading system for assignments. Categorize assignments by how much they are worth: For example, exams are worth 100 points each, quizzes are worth 50 and homework is worth 10. Use a percentage or point system to tally grade totals, and calculate using a computerized grading system if possible. Whenever possible, give assignments that are simple to grade, such as short answer or multiple choice.

    Make a Routine

    • Create a grading routine to help you keep up with grading. Stay organized by designating a specific place to keep ungraded assignments and assignments to return to students, such as stackable baskets or file folders. Plan specific times to grade student work, such as afternoons after school, Monday evenings or whatever time fits best with your schedule. Keep up with your grading to avoid feeling overwhelmed by the number of papers you have to grade at one time.

    Student Grading

    • Reduce the number of papers you have to grade by letting your students grade papers. This works well for homework or multiple-choice assignments that are not a large portion of students' overall grade. You can ask students to grade their own papers or to exchange with another student. To make grading even easier, walk around the room after student papers are graded and write down the grades so that you do not have to collect the assignment. Randomly check from time to time that students are grading assignments accurately.

    Credit

    • Assign some items for credit rather than a grade to save time in grading, suggests the education website The Cornerstone. Homework assignments are ideal for credit, because their purpose is to give students a chance to practice what they have learned, not to assess them. Do not use credit for assignments that assess students, such as exams or essays. Choose only a few items to grade for credit. Collect one homework assignment each week to assess so you will know which students are on track and which need additional practice. For the rest of the week, ask students to grade and correct their own papers in class. Walk around the class with your grade book and place a check mark beside the name of each student who completed the assignment, regardless of their grade on that assignment. At the end of the grading period, assign a credit grade for students based on the number of assignments they completed, not their grades.

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