Is Grading Students Too Much Work?
Use My Teaching Strategies!

Grading students and marking their work, tests, projects, assignments and homework can be a lot of work when it comes to teaching a grade - any grade.

Obviously, the higher the elementary school grade, the more marking there is.

Remember that the work you give your students must always be marked. You are accountable to your students and their parents, students are accountable to you and themselves, and of course you are accountable to yourself. - you need to be true to yourself!

You will possibly find yourself marking and grading students during recess, lunch time, prep time, after school and at home and on week-ends.

Of course, the more work you give your students, the more you have to mark! When it's report card time, you sometimes don't see " the light of day" until they're done.

I don't want to scare you - be reasonable when giving work, be extremely organized and manage your time wisely.... because you also need, want and have a personal life tooo!

As I mentioned before, you must mark all work you give to your students throughout the day, whether it's math, a grammar sheet, story, science experiment, etc.- BUT not everything needs a mark!

Marking Methods and Suggestions

Here's a list of suggestions that I followed when marking and grading students:

* I marked with a BLUE pen, NEVER RED

* I never used an "X" if something was wrong (especially Math).

* I circled or wrote in BLUE whatever needed to be corrected by the student. (To me, RED and marking with an "X" have a negative connotation, and I like to think positively).

* I used abbreviated symbols which the students know (these were displayed on chart paper on a wall in the classroom)- for example SP - spelling, NS - Not a Sentence, ^ - missing word or letter in a word.

Work Review

After grading students on an assignment, activity sheet, etc., I would call each student up to my desk and show them their mistake(s). I would ask them if they know what is wrong. After further explanation, they would return to their desks and correct their errors.

Why? - How else are they going to learn if you correct their errors for them.

Once they had corrected their mistakes and shown the changes to me, I would check off their name on my class list tally sheet. "Scanning" a class list tally sheet to check who has completed an assignment is much easier and faster than counting notebooks or sheets.

Keep the tally sheets as references for your monthly reports and report cards.

Test Review

After grading students on a test and taking it up in class, students were required to bring it home for their parents to see, sign and return to me. Tests were kept in students' individual folders so if parents said "Why wasn't I informed about my child's progress?", I could produce all the signed work to them.

Another good point to remember is to photocopy tests for your files for students who are always losing things (as long as the test doesn't have too many pages).

Make sure that the students mark in their agendas to have their tests signed by their parents. If the signed test hasn't been returned after 2 days, I would call parents to ask if they had seen the test and were aware of the results.

Projects and Special Assignments

When I gave students a project or special assignment,(such as book reports, science experiments, stories or speeches to write), which would be a large part of their final mark in a particular subject, I used a grading rubric for grading students.

I might say "Everyone right now is getting an "A+" and this is how you are going to maintain that mark". I would then go through the grading rubric thoroughly, demonstrating with examples. The rubric was sent home, signed by the parents and returned to me. Parents were then aware of what their child was involved in.

Some other tips.

* Depending on the length and importance (read grade assigned) of the project/assignment, I give students time in class to do the work. It gave me a chance to ensure that all students were on track and help those in need.

* The internet is to be used as a resource ONLY. It's too easy to just press the print key and "Voila - Here's my project". I made sure students understood that completely. (I've given students a failing mark when they only copied from the internet. I would then give them a few extra days to redo the project and then adjust their grade.)

* Pictures/diagrams/maps drawn and coloured by hand are given a higher mark than a printed or photocopied object.

* I would write my comments on the rubric with the final mark, which again was sent home, signed by the parents and returned to me.

Note: Tests, projects and special assignments and their due dates were written in the student's agenda, each day, for the entire length of the project,etc.

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