7 Easy Tips for Saving Time Grading Papers for 5th-12th Grade Teachers

Andy Block, Edtentive Media LLC

Grading papers takes up so much unnecessary time that could be spent making a valuable impact on students or planning your next lesson. Wouldn’t you want to shorten the amount of time spent grading papers to spend more meaningful time with your students? 

Time was scarce prior to the pandemic and now many teachers are in pure survival mode. 

An unbelievable 55% of teachers are considering leaving the profession, due to the added strain of paperwork, filling in for teachers that are out sick, and fear for their own health. You can add to that list, a litany of other complaints that are sucking the joy out of teaching for many education professionals, according to a National Education Association (NEA) survey in 2022

You are probably taking papers home to grade when you could be spending valuable time with your family. A few years ago, you would have a briefcase full of them to mark by hand. Now, most teachers are using Google Classroom or some other learning management system.

In most public K12 and community college transfer courses, whether it’s Algebra or history of ELA, students are doing a lot of writing. 

An important component of modern curriculum planning is the idea of Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC). This is essentially the idea that student writing should be encouraged and assessed in all courses/ contexts because learners need a solid writing foundation to progress in almost all other subjects.

So, let’s get past the erroneous idea that the only teachers grading writing are English teachers! 

While writing assessments may not make up the predominant grades for non-composition, history and math teachers must be able to understand a student’s written responses on graded assignments, or, certainly, that student’s grade will be in jeopardy. 

Teachers of all subjects would likely do more grading of writing across the curriculum if it weren’t for the overwhelming time-suck associated with the grading of individual writing. Thankfully, there are new software and tools that can greatly reduce the time burden that comes with grading student composition and both formal and informal writing in all classes.

Read below for the 7 best tips for teachers to save time grading papers and written assignments – in class and outside of class. 

Stamp Student Assignments

One solution to save you time grading assignments is stamping the students’ assignments. Not all papers need to be checked over for accuracy, and sometimes completion is just enough. 

Using a stamp may look like it only saves a matter of seconds, but when these seconds are added together it makes up much more time than expected. 

Students love colorful stamps and teachers love saving time grading assignments. It is a win-win situation. 

If students are completing assignments on a computer or online, teachers can take advantage of WriteRightNow’s genuine feedback feature. This function allows teachers to provide constructive feedback to students’ work by storing an individually-tailored library of comments they can easily paste into student drafts.

Color Code Assignments 

Another solution to save you time grading assignments is by having your students color code their essays. For example, you can have your students underline their main idea in one color and their supporting details in another color. 

This method forces students to make sure that they have everything that is required before turning their papers in. Not only does this help students get better grades, but it also helps the teacher save tremendous amounts of time grading their papers. 

By not having to search through clusters of words to find with you are looking for, it will allow the information that you are looking for to stand out right in front of you. 

Spot Check During Lessons 

Spot-checking during lessons is exceptionally beneficial for teachers wanting to save time grading papers. 

What exactly is spot-checking?

Spot-checking is can be done by walking around the room while students are actively writing to make sure that they are doing the correct thing. Steering students on the right track will save you time when they have to turn in their papers and you are grading them. You will already be familiar with each student’s paper and therefore will make the grading process easier. Alternatively, you can have students hold up whiteboards as part of a game to spot-check. 

Use a Scanner

If you are grading with multiple-choice answers, you could opt to use a scanner that would help you grade your papers faster. Students simply fill in the answer sheet and you put the answer key and papers into the scanner. 

Trade and Grade

Another option is to have your students trade and grade. This happens by letting the students choose a partner or assign them a partner to trade papers with. When the students trade papers, walk them through the process of peer reviewing. 

Not only will this save you time grading papers, but it will also encourage your students to think more critically about the editing process. Once the paper has been handed to you, it has already been marked where the main and supporting details of the paper are. In the end, this will help you save valuable time in the grading process. 

Mark all Papers before Entering Grades

Some teachers will mark a paper and then put it into the grade book. Unfortunately, this is not the most effective method. 

If you are looking to save time grading papers, it is recommended that you mark all of the papers and then upload them to the grade book. Think of it like an assembly line that you are aiming for the highest possible efficiency. 

Writing Assessment Software

Educators are often overwhelmed and need effective ways to manage time. 

Teachers are usually underpaid for the amount of education required to do the job. 

Classes can be too crowded. It’s not uncommon for teachers’ planning periods to be used for administrative meetings, departmental meetings, professional development, and other duties. 

Effective writing instruction in any K-12 or two-year college course requires time and has traditionally been labor intensive. This is particularly true for teachers that want to provide substantive writing feedback for their students’ compositions.

There are many grading services out there aimed to help teachers,  but the most efficient for helping students write better is WriteRightNow.

WriteRightNow is the perfect solution for teachers in any subject area interested in supporting their students’ problem-solving skills. No matter what content area you teach, the software can streamline the process of providing feedback and deepen students’ skills.

WRN includes a variety of ways to speed up the grading process, including automatic grammar and mechanics checks, highlighting students’ use of words identified by the teacher as highly relevant, and incorporating flexible rubrics to help students understand areas for improvement. These efficiencies give teachers more time to help students who need more one on one support to succeed.

If you are wanting to save time grading student papers, learn more about the WriteRightNow platform here.

Get started today!