Grading Strategies for Teachers

I cannot tell you how many times I suffered bringing home piles of papers to grade, how many nights I stayed up way too late putting in grades, and how many times I begged my husband to help me grade papers. Well no more!!

I no longer bring home piles of papers, I don’t stay up late grading, and my husband has not helped me grade papers in years. Why? Well read on about my 3 grading strategies to cut down on papers to grade and the time it takes to grade them!

Strategy 1: Rubrics

Rubrics are not just for written papers, I use rubrics in every subject. This year I even use rubrics in math! I used to think, “Well yes I could use a rubric, but then I have to spend time creating a rubric and deducting points. Isn’t that just as much work?” It’s not as much work, I now know it is not as much work. Rubrics do not have to be complicated. I use this simple rubric which you can find here for free!


There are many times where I have given students a lot of guidance on an assignment and a traditional grade would not represent what they actually earned. So I use a rubric to inform the student and their parent about how well they know the concept.

Strategy 2: Exit Tickets

Exit Tickets are short, like 3 questions short, assessments to find out what a student learned that day. You might include a question from the previous days teaching to see if students retained their learning. I love using these because I can assign students a grade of 100, 90, 80, or 70 based on how many questions a students missed. This makes grading much simpler for me and cuts down a ton of time.

When I use Exit Tickets I make sure the questions can be answered within the last 10 minutes or less of class. They are not meant to be lengthy assignments.

When I am finished grading the Exit Ticket, I like to put them in order from highest to lowest grades so I know which students I need to work with the next day. Doing this allows me to have an easy grade and quick data on the class and my lesson! In my world, it doesn’t get better than that!

Strategy 3: Having Students Check as They Go

Any time I cut up questions around the room, cut up a worksheet, or play a game with my students (you can find game ideas here) I have students check their answers as they go.

Usually I will have the students record answers on a piece of notebook paper and title the page whatever concept we are working on that day. Then they number their paper to however many questions I have set out for them. Each time they answer a question they come to me to check. They get a check mark if it’s right, or a dot if it’s wrong. They get one more chance to answer correctly. If they get it right the second time, they will receive a check and if it’s wrong they will receive and x.

When I am recording the grade, a dot is worth ½ the questions point amount and an x is worth the whole point amount. This saves time because I have already marked which are correct and which are wrong.

Many teachers will go over papers and grade them as a class, but I feel my method takes up less time and keeps students engaged. This also allows them to correct their own mistakes before I step in and reteach. It cuts down on misbehavior because a student will only get a reteach of the question if they miss it. Students who understand the concept will not have to listen to the reteach of each question and when they are finished they can do an early finisher assignment or whatever extension assignment I have for them.

I hope this has helped you find more time to spend with your family or take care of yourself! Let me know in the comments which strategy has helped you!


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