At times, keeping on top of grading can be a real challenge. For one thing, the short planning periods that teachers are given are usually not enough time to even begin grading all of the work that students turn in.
In fact, elementary school teachers have very little planning time during the school day. This means that teachers spend a lot of their personal time grading work. Some teachers arrive at school early and some stay late. Others just take their work home with them.
No matter when you choose to grade your students' work, grading takes time, so it is important that you find some strategies to lessen your grading time without cutting down on the quality of the grading or the work required of students.
Writing is an essential part of a quality education. Elementary school teachers must give numerous writing assignments to improve the students' skills. However, these writing assignments can often be difficult and time-consuming to grade. It is important that you devise grading methods to make your life easier.
Colleges and businesses cite lack of writing skills as one of the major problems they face with new students and employees. It is important that teachers go beyond informal writing assignments and require their students to write formally.
First, you should create a rubric for each of your writing assignments. Your rubric should be consistent, with only the details changed in accordance with each topic. Your rubric should be convenient for you to use, so spend some time making your expectations very clear.
Grading by Comparison
One technique that may help you cut down on grading time is to read through the papers very quickly and place them in an order of quality across your desk or even on the floor. Then, when you are filling out the rubric, you will have some idea of what type of grade individual students should be earning, and you will be able to grade them in an order that makes sense for you. You might choose to grade either the best or worst work first. As you're using this method, you will find it easier to be consistent from paper to paper.
If you give your students research papers or large projects to complete, it is imperative that you use rubrics to grade their work. Grading projects is often very subjective. Teachers will base some of the grade on the quality of the visuals or other artistic elements. Therefore, you need to make it very clear what is acceptable, or your students will not believe that you're being fair and consistent.
When you devise daily assignments, stay away from “busy work” if it does not truly reinforce or teach the students. Remember, you are going to have to grade whatever you assign. Therefore, if you are having students read through a section in the book and then answer questions, make sure the questions ask for information that you feel is important to learn.
Many teachers have students exchange papers and grade each other's work. This is definitely a time-saver. However, you need to make sure that you look through the students' grades each time to make sure no cheating occurred. You also need to check your school's policy on this, because some schools do not allow anyone except the teacher to grade student work.