Saturday, January 17, 2015

Grading Tips and Tricks

Hi there!  It's Lauren again from A Teachable Teacher!
It's Friday night and I've got one thing on my mind...You might think it's wine, or sleep, or going on a fun date. But instead, it's grades.  I don't know about you, but my report cards are due this week and I've got an end-of-the-trimester grading marathon ahead of me. ;-)  Can anyone say last minute district assessments?
Here are a few grading tricks and tips I've picked up the last few years:

1. Create a sheet with a class list. I had to remove student names for privacy, but you get the idea. ;-) 
My class list is printed two per page and I keep extra copies in a special pile folder in my classroom.  Use the class list when grading assignments in class by writing student scores next to each student's name. I write the subject and assignment at the very top so I know what the scores relate to.  Then, I use that class list to enter grades into the grade book. I use these sheets ALL the time.  
For example, I will grade writing journals at lunch or after school.  I record scores on the class list, and then take the class list home to enter it into the online grade book.  It sure beats taking home all those writing journals!

2. Don't grade everything.

Every teacher has a different philosophy, but not every single assignment needs to be graded.  I'll leave it at that.

3. Use Rubrics!

I use rubrics for oral language (presentations) and writing, but they can be used for so many other assignments as well! Rubrics are not only good for the teacher (you will have a particular focus when grading), but they are also good for students.  Students will thrive when expectations are clear.  Pinterest is a great place to start if you are searching for rubrics!

4.  Have students turn in their tests in alphabetical order.

This might be one of my proudest classroom management  teacher moments.  Ladies and gentlemen - my FIRST grade students turn in their tests in alphabetical order, on their own.  It creates responsibility for them and makes paper collecting and grading smoother for me.  My class is numbered 1-30 alphabetically according to their last name.  At the beginning of the year, after a test, I would call out each number 1-30 and students would place their test in the basket when I called their number.  They became familiar with the student that goes before and after them, and now they turn in tests on their own!  Why is this important?  I can take my graded pile of tests and, (after grading), directly enter the scores into my online grade book since the tests are already in the same order.  Additionally, I can easily return the graded tests to the students' mailboxes, since those are alphabetical as well.  Teach your students to do this - you won't be sorry!

...and my favorite tip, the...

5.  FREE "Easy Grade" App!

Do you have an EZ Grader?  My master teacher gave me a purple one many years ago.  I used to carry it back and forth from school to home in my teacher bag.  One day I left it at school.  I had a ton of papers to grade that weekend and was hoping I wouldn't need to use my calculator (work smarter - not harder)!  I searched "ez grader" in the App store and I found this FREE app for iPhone and iPads - Easy Grade!
This app is so easy to use!  Simply put in the number of problems on your student assignment and decide if you want it to sort percentages by "number right" or "number wrong."  It even allows scoring with half points - if you dare to get that detailed!  Since I always have my phone next to me, I know that I don't need to carry yet another item back-and-forth. I can grade on the go - percentages and all!

This app was created by a teacher's husband.  I was in no way compensated for sharing about this app, I just found it extremely useful and user-friendly!

Do you have any grading tips or tricks to share with us today?  We'd love to hear about them in the comments below!!


  1. I just used my Android phone to see if there was an EZ Grader app, and there was! Thanks for the tip. It isn't extremely time consuming to use the calculator, but it would certainly be easier to use the app. Thanks for the tip! I do the same thing that you do with a class list. It's especially helpful when I'm grading an assignment for more than one thing. Reading assignments are graded for content, but also for spelling and mechanics. Great blog post!
    Laughter and Consistency

    1. Thanks Jan! I am so happy to hear Android has the app as well!

  2. Great ideas! I, too, teach my students to turn in all their work in number (aka ABC order). It does save time!

    1. It makes grading so much easier! Plus, they have to be responsible and remember the order. Win-win! Thanks for sharing!

  3. What great tips! I'm going to print off my list now and download that app!

    1. Thanks Jen! Hopefully the app helps with grading your benchmark tests! (Haha, see what I did there?) -Lauren

  4. The class list is the best!!! I saw my friend using it when I went into her classroom and flipped! I've been doing it that way ever since and it makes it so much easier to enter them into your Gradebook online!

    1. It really does make it WAYYY easier! Plus, it makes it easier to find out who hasn't finished the assignment. Thanks for sharing Alexis!

  5. I love the class list tip! Thanks! How many assignments do you "grade" and how much do those assignments' grades reflect in your report card grades? Just curious?