Updated: Feb 21, 2020
According to the 2018 DfE survey, workload continues to be a major issue in education. Many teachers claim to be working at an unsustainable rate and it seems that in general, schools are not doing much to alleviate this issue. It is agreed among most teachers that marking and planning are the biggest time consumers.
While teaching can feel like a lifestyle, remember it is a job. In order to not be consumed by high workloads we must find smart solutions. In this post I will point out some proven time-saving marking hacks.
1. Peer marking- Make use of your students. They love marking each other's work and taking on your role. Students can also benefit from accessing mark schemes and success criteria that they would otherwise not see. As mentioned by (Brown, S. Rust, C. & Gibbs, G. 1994) students can take a deeper approach to learning when required to make use of assessment criteria in this way. For effective peer marking, give students opportunities to use mark schemes. Train students to give effective feedback and plan for this in your lessons. This will reduce the need for you to mark every single piece of work.
2. Trend marking- this is my favourite way of marking student books. Trend marking involves taking a random sample of the class books, scanning through them to find common trends, misconceptions and areas for improvement that apply to most of the students in your sample. These findings can be quickly typed up into a marking crib sheet (search on TES for some great templates). These sheets can now be printed and given to the whole class. In no more than 10 minutes, every student now has feedback that they can act on appropriately.
3. Coded marking- This involves having a bank of pre-typed feedback comments. Each comment is allocated a code (number or letter) and these numbers of letters will be written into the students books in place of an entire comment. In my class, I use numbers for what went well (WWW) and letters for even better if (EBI). Students must match up the code with the comment as it is displayed to them on the board. No longer will you get that pain in the wrist from repeatedly writing long comments in every single book, or that barely readable handwriting by the time you get to the bottom book on the pile. Marking is twice as fast using this method- however keep in mind that your bank of comments may need to be updated for each topic.
Let us know your thoughts and any additional suggestions in the comments below.