Time-Saving Guide for Marking

Author: Bethany Spencer

Posted: 04 May 2017

Estimated time to read: 4 mins

Marking students’‭ ‬work and providing them with feedback to relay to them how they are performing is crucial to their own personal development‭. ‬It‭ ‬also lets them know how they can improve their performance‭, ‬helps you when planning future lessons and log results for reports‭. However, as well as being important it is also time-consuming‭, but it can be economised so that you can save time whilst still managing to maintain the same level of constructive feedback‭. ‬

Colour coded marking

Create a colour-coded feedback sheet and display it clearly in your classroom so students can familiarise themselves with the structure‭. ‬Highlight with certain colours that indicate‭, ‬grammar‭, ‬spelling, chronology etc and then use these when marking students’‭ ‬work‭. ‬By doing this‭, ‬the laborious task of chronicling every error will be greatly reduced‭. ‬This process also puts the onus back on the student to correct their work and therefore learn from their mistakes‭.‬

Self assessment

This is not about asking a student to grade their work but for them to compare their work to clear criteria and determine how to‭ ‬make improvements for themselves‭. ‬If they are given a rubric of the criteria desired they can evaluate to what level they have‭ ‬met each point and where they can make positive changes.Taking the time to teach students how to self assess effectively reduces‭ ‬the pressure for you and students still receive feedback‭. ‬It also encourages them to be autonomous and think about their work more critically‭. ‬

Peer assessment

Similarly to self-assessment‭, ‬peer assessment does require a level of teacher support at first‭, ‬but once mastered is a useful tool to both you and your students‭. ‬Ask your student to swap their work with a peer of a similar ability to review and feedback on‭. ‬Give them criteria in which they can assess if the work was successful, then ask them to write statements starting with‭ ‬‘what worked well’‭ ‬or‭ ‬‘even better if’‭. ‬One great method is the‭ ‬‘Ladder of feedback’‭ ‬created by David Perkins of Harvard University‭. ‬This will give them a clear method in which they can feed back to their peer‭. ‬This sets out four areas of progressive peer assessment‭. ‬

  • Clarify‭ - ‬ask questions of clarification about the work being reviewed‭. ‬
  • Value‭ - ‬comment on the strength of the work‭. ‬
  • Concerns‭ - ‬comment on your concerns about the work‭. ‬
  • Suggest‭ - ‬make suggestions for improving the work‭.‬

Marking grids

Establish an agreed success criteria at the start of the piece of work‭. ‬This will normally be a few key points that the students‭ ‬have been made aware of in class and will cover key learning areas‭. ‬For example‭, ‬if they are reviewing a poem then the success‭ ‬criteria might be‭; ‬write about the author’s intentions‭, ‬write about the affect on the reader‭, ‬alternative interpretations etc‭. ‬Then put these into a grid under the column‭ ‬success criteria with adjoining columns labelled‭ ‬’Yes’‭, ‬‘Partially’‭ ‬and‭ ‬‘No’‭. ‬The boxes in these columns should only be big enough for a tick or small comment‭. ‬This way as you are reading through their work the grid can be filled in as you go‭. ‬Below you should have boxes for a comment and a target as to where you would like their‭ ‬learning to progress to‭. ‬

‭‬Don’t mark it to death

Overkill doesn’t help anyone‭. ‬Staying up all night until the whites of your eyes are as covered in as many little red lines as your students’‭ ‬work is only going to lead to them feeling like they’ve failed and to you burning out‭. ‬When it comes to marking‭, ‬less is more‭. ‬Try and focus on the key point of the work and stick to that‭. ‬Make the outcome clear before the work is set so you can mark accordingly‭. ‬This way you will save yourself time and feedback is succinct‭, ‬easily digestible and related to the initial intended learning outcomes‭. ‬


Isn’t knowing that you’re acquiring knowledge reward enough‭? ‬Not in a world of emojis‭, ‬likes and re-tweets‭. ‬So in the absence of being able to text‭ ‬‘‭=)‬’‭ ‬to the deserving child‭, ‬use stickers‭, ‬draw smiley faces and read aloud noteworthy sections of your pupils’‭ ‬work or reward them with the rumoured‭ ‬‘double tick’‭. ‬These are quick to relay and resonate well with students‭. ‬Writing detailed and indepth feedback is necessary but not for every‭ ‬single piece of work you receive‭.‬

Download this blog as a PDF


Next: 10 Time-Saving Teacher Hacks

Learn more about Satchel