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How to manage your marking workload

Updated: May 11, 2022

Marking can become a time consuming part of any teaching job. You do not want to let it get in the way of your other important duties such as lesson planning and meeting with students to help them with their learning.


This is why it is vital that marking is a manageable task and not a stressful part of your routine. Here are some tips on how to make marking easier to deal with.



Make a plan of when you will mark


A good way to keep up with your marking is to make a plan of when you will work. First, look at your class timetable and identify your free time during the school day. Estimate how much time your marking will take you and divide this length of time into these free slots. Write which class’s workbooks you will mark in each slot.


When you begin your marking sessions with a plan like this, the task will feel less daunting because you know exactly what you are going to do. Having a planned schedule also helps you to not put off marking because you will feel more motivated to stick to your plan.



Mark with a colleague


Other teachers will also have lots of marking and they too might be feeling a little overwhelmed by it all. Arrange a time that your colleagues are free and use this time to mark in the same room. When you are all working on the same task at a scheduled time, you will motivate each other to complete the marking you have.



Read up on your school’s marking policy


Your school will have policies about all sorts of educational processes and marking might be one of them. Familiarise yourself with these policies because you might find that your department is assigning too much assessed or marked work to students.


If this is the case, you can reduce the amount that is given out and, in turn, the amount of marking you have to do each day will be reduced. This change will give you and your colleagues more time to think about new ways to continuously improve your students’ learning and progress.



Tell students to leave workbooks open at correct page


Flicking through students’ workbooks to find the correct page to mark might seem like a small thing but the time it takes to do this with every student’s book will add up quickly. An easy timesaver is asking students to have their workbooks already open on the page you are planning to mark. Then you can make a stack of all of the class’s books open on the correct page. When you come to mark the pages, they will be there open and ready for you!



Practise live-marking


Live-marking involves walking around the classroom as students are still completing their work and marking their work when you pass by them. For example, if students are completing maths questions, you can tick or cross the one they have answered so far.


This technique will save you time with marking later but also allows you to see the live progress of your students and how they are finding the questions, giving you the opportunity to help them on an individual level.



Introduce peer assessment


Another on-the-go marking technique is to get students to mark each other’s work. Peer assessment is commonplace in the classroom and has many benefits aside from helping you out with your marking workload.


Peer assessment allows students to think critically about the subjects they are learning and reading other people’s efforts may open them to new ideas, new ways to complete tasks and new ways of thinking. It will improve students’ judgement skills and will make them feel actively involved with the assessment process.


This marking method is not favoured by all teachers, however. Students have little experience marking and their friendships may affect the grades they give each other. If you are going to implement peer assessment, make sure you provide clear guidance on how to do it fully to your students beforehand.



Try out self-marking


Similarly, self-marking puts marking in the hands of your students. This is where after your class has done a task, you talk through the answers and each student is responsible for marking each of their own answers as correct or incorrect. Self-marking will train students in self-reflection and it encourages them to seek out the ways in which they can improve their work in the future.


An issue with self-marking, though, is that students can inflate the success of their performance or may instead be overly critical. The marks you get back at the end could be subjective so some time will have to be spent checking to see if self-marking is being done accurately by your students.



Use an online learning platform


One way to save time is to have all assessed work and quizzes on a programme that allows for automated assessment. For example, if your class is doing an end-of-module quiz that has exact, objective answers, you can set these up on an educational quizzing website. Good ones to try are Kahoot!, Educake, Class Dojo or Lexia.


Using these will mean you do not have to manually look through sheets and workbooks but instead can see everyone’s scores in an instant.



Make the most of your teaching journey by gaining new skills on a Notting Hill College teacher training course.


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