12 Tips for Grading Essays Faster & 17 Best Tech Tools to Use

May 19, 2024

Grading essays is a crucial aspect of teaching, yet it can be time-consuming and challenging to do well. Luckily, there are tools for teachers that can make the process more efficient and effective. In this blog, we explore the benefits of using these tools and share tips for grading essays more efficiently and accurately, making the experience less stressful for educators and more beneficial for students. Let's dive in and discover how these tools can revolutionize your essay grading process.

What Is Essay Grading & Why Its Important

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Grading essays is a crucial aspect of the education system as it helps educators assess student understanding, provide feedback, and guide future learning. It serves to evaluate and communicate student performance accurately while identifying areas where students may need more assistance to achieve the learning objectives set forth by the course. Grades also offer standardized communication of student performance to various stakeholders, including students themselves and educational departments.

Enhancing Student Writing Through Grading

Grading essays is instrumental in improving student writing skills and understanding their strengths and weaknesses. By providing constructive feedback, instructors help students identify areas for improvement and areas of proficiency. This feedback motivates students to enhance their writing abilities and deepen their comprehension of subject matter. 

Grading fosters transparency, allowing students to grasp what they have learned and what areas they need to focus on for ongoing improvement. This transparency also boosts motivation and engagement among students.

Grading as a Process and Its Various Activities

Grading is not merely assigning grades but a comprehensive process involving several activities. This process includes setting expectations with students through a grading policy, designing assignments aligned with course objectives, establishing grading standards and criteria, ensuring consistency and fairness in applying grading standards, making decisions about effort and improvement, providing constructive comments to guide student learning, and returning assignments promptly while helping students understand their grades.

Purpose of Grades and the Various Ways They Serve

Grades are essential for quantifying learning and intellectual progress with objective criteria while serving multiple purposes. 

  • They evaluate student work, effort, understanding of course content, skill development, and progress. 
  • Grades motivate students to continue learning and improving while providing feedback on their performance. 
  • They also communicate students' potential to stakeholders like parents, graduate schools, professional schools, and future employers. 
  • Grades help to organize lessons, units, or semesters by marking transitions in a course and offering closure.

The Role of Feedback in Grading Essays

Feedback is a crucial element in the grading process as it informs students about their learning progress and areas for improvement. It clarifies what students understand, what they need to enhance, and how they can improve. 

For instructors, feedback offers insights into students' learning, aiding in making informed decisions for future teaching engagements. Thus, providing prompt, constructive, and personalized feedback is essential in guiding students toward continuous improvement and deeper understanding.

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12 Tips for Grading Essays Faster While Leaving Better Feedback

man writing on a copy -Grading Essays

1. Use Highlighters to Self-Check Writing and Grade Faster

Utilizing highlighters can be a game-changer when it comes to grading essays. Allow students to highlight their writing to showcase understanding, completion, or writing mastery. For instance, when working on embedding quotations, have students highlight the parts of their properly embedded quotation. 

This technique not only saves time by simplifying the scanning process for mistakes but also facilitates swift identification of content errors such as missing evidence. Using highlighters enables teachers to provide one-on-one help more efficiently, as they can quickly pinpoint students who need assistance, enhancing classroom productivity and focus.

2. Focus on Revision Instead of Grading Essays

Prioritizing the revision process over grading essays can significantly enhance student growth while streamlining the grading process. By focusing on working smarter rather than harder during the revision stage, teachers can save time grading final essays. 

Shifting the emphasis to revision can result in substantial improvements in writing skills as students receive more personalized feedback and guidance, driving student accountability and engagement.

3. Give Verbal Feedback in Class to Cut Down on Essay Grading

To streamline the grading process and provide more effective feedback, allocate time for one-on-one conferences with students. Verbal feedback sessions, even if brief, can markedly enhance students' writing skills. 

Strategies to carve out time for verbal feedback include conducting spot checks for common mistakes, using targeted exit tickets to address specific writing elements, integrating teacher-student conferences into the revision process, and providing students with access to self-help stations for individualized instruction.

4. Use Self and Peer Writing Revision Stations for Fast Grading

Implementing writing revision stations can optimize the grading process by facilitating one-on-one conferencing with each student. By having students self-grade with a rubric, engage in peer reviews, read their essays aloud, utilize tech tools for grammar checks, focus on word choice improvement, participate in teacher conferences, and demonstrate specific skill mastery, teachers can efficiently assess writing quality while promoting student collaboration and self-improvement.

5. Set Up a Feedback Comment Bank for Grading Essays

Establishing a comment bank can revolutionize the grading process by enabling teachers to deliver faster and more effective feedback. By compiling frequently used feedback comments and reusing them to reinforce learning and address common writing issues, teachers can save time while providing targeted, quality feedback to students.

6. Ride the Tortoise

Adopting the 2x2e approach, which involves grading two essays in a sitting at least twice a day, can enhance efficiency and productivity. By breaking down grading tasks into manageable chunks and setting realistic goals, teachers can optimize focus and maintain a steady, consistent effort, leading to gradual progress and a sense of accomplishment.

7. Avoid the Rabbit Hole

Setting a timer for grading essays can help teachers stay focused and mindful of time constraints, preventing distractions and enhancing productivity. By establishing target timeframes for each essay, teachers can maintain a structured pace and navigate through grading tasks more effectively.

8. Play Home Inspector

Adopting a strategic evaluation approach akin to that of a home inspector can expedite the essay grading process. By focusing on key sections such as introductions, conclusions, and key sentences to assess the coherence and structure of student essays, teachers can quickly identify patterns and gain a solid understanding of the content.

9. Make a Grading Conversion Chart

Creating a grading conversion chart using tools like Excel can simplify the process of converting letter grades, percentages, and numeric grades. By centralizing grading data and streamlining conversions, teachers can ensure accuracy and consistency in grading assignments across diverse institutions and grading criteria.

10. Mark in Batches

Breaking down grading tasks into manageable batches, typically consisting of 3-5 essays, can enhance efficiency and reduce mental fatigue. By grading essays in intervals, typing comments, entering grades, and taking regular breaks, teachers can maintain focus, alleviate stress, and ensure thorough feedback.

11. If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say, Say Something Nice Anyways

Incorporating positive feedback alongside constructive criticism can foster a supportive and encouraging learning environment. Using a positive-negative-positive approach, whereby positive comments precede and follow constructive feedback, can motivate students to improve while boosting morale and engagement.

12. Find Joy in the Work

Approaching the grading process with humor and positivity can make the task more enjoyable and sustainable. Embracing humor, using colorful pens, and finding moments to appreciate student efforts can alleviate stress, enhance engagement, and promote a more positive grading experience. 

Streamline Essay Grading with EssayGrader

EssayGrader is the most accurate AI grading platform trusted by 30,000+ educators worldwide. On average it takes a teacher 10 minutes to grade a single essay, with EssayGrader that time is cut down to 30 seconds That's a 95% reduction in the time it takes to grade an essay, with the same results. 

With EssayGrader, Teachers can:

  • Replicate their grading rubrics (so AI doesn't have to do the guesswork to set the grading criteria)
  • Setup fully custom rubrics
  • Grade essays by class
  • Bulk upload of essays
  • Use our AI detector to catch essays written by AI
  • Summarize essays with our Essay summarizer 

Primary school, high school, and even college professors grade their students' essays with the help of our AI tool. Over half a million essays were graded by 30,000+ teachers on our platform. Save 95% of your time for grading school work with our tool to get high-quality, specific and accurate writing feedback for essays in seconds. 

Get started for free today!

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17 Best Tools for Grading Essays

glasses on a diary - Grading Essays

1. EssayGrader: AI-Powered Grading Platform

EssayGrader is a cutting-edge AI grading platform that has gained the trust of over 30,000 educators worldwide. With EssayGrader, the time it takes to grade an essay is reduced significantly - from 10 minutes to a mere 30 seconds. 

This platform allows teachers to utilize their grading rubrics, set up custom rubrics, grade essays by class, upload essays in bulk, and even detect essays written by AI. Teachers can summarize essays quickly using the Essay summarizer tool. EssayGrader is ideal for educators at the primary, high school, and college levels.

2. Canvas Teacher: On-the-Go Grading Tool

Canvas Teacher is a convenient tool for teachers who are always on the move. This platform enables teachers to grade, communicate, and update students on their assignments with ease. Teachers can quickly check which students have submitted assignments and identify those who are yet to turn in their work.Teachers can provide feedback directly from their phones. The best part? Canvas Teacher is a free tool.

3. Easy Grade: Grading Assistance on iOS

Easy Grade is an excellent tool for grading papers and tests on iOS devices. Users can customize grading methods by altering point values and round scores quickly. This app is compatible with iPads and is available for free with some optional in-app purchases.

4. Quick Grader: Customizable Grading Solution

Quick Grader is a completely customizable and free grading solution. This tool offers half-point values, adjustable grade scales, decimal values, plus/minus grading, and an intuitive user interface.

5. Groovy Grader: Digital Slide Grader

Groovy Grader is a free digital slide grader that replaces traditional paper grading calculators. This tool helps in simplifying and digitizing the grading process.

6. Grades – Grade Calculator: Future Grade Prediction App

Grades – Grade Calculator app calculates the grade a student needs to score on an upcoming exam to achieve target grades and GPA. This free app is a useful tool for both teachers and students.

7. Gradework PRO: Comprehensive Grading App

Gradework PRO is a feature-packed app that automates grade calculation, attendance tracking, and student performance summaries. This ad-free app comes with a one-time fee of $19.99, covering all features without any additional in-app purchases.

8. Grade Grid: Convert Number Grades to Letter Grades

Grade Grid is a free tool that can convert number grades to letter grades using customizable grading scales based on the nature of the assignment.

9. Showbie: Bulk Assignment Grading Solution

Showbie is a free tool that enables teachers to grade up to 10 student assignments simultaneously. It also includes a digital grade book for efficient grade management.

10. Viper: Plagiarism Detection Tool

Viper is a plagiarism detection tool that scans students' work to identify instances of plagiarism. Though there is a small fee associated with the app, institutions can purchase a plan to facilitate usage.

11. BookWidgets: Assignment Automation Tool

BookWidgets allows teachers to create assignments for students to complete and return via the app for automatic grading. Teachers can provide real-time feedback to students upon assignment submission. The app is available for a monthly fee of $9, with discounts for multiple users.

12. Flubaroo: Google Add-On for Grading

Flubaroo is a free Google Forms/Sheets add-on that simplifies grading and analyzing student performance. It helps in identifying students needing assistance, analyzing average scores, and sharing scores with students via email or Google Drive.

13. Formative: Real-Time Task Monitoring App

Formative allows teachers to assign tasks and monitor students' progress in real-time. This tool enhances the learning experience by providing instant feedback on assignments.

14. Gradescope: AI-Powered Grading Platform

Gradescope automates the grading process using AI, saving teachers time and effort. This platform offers rubric-based assessment and team grading to ensure objectivity and consistency in grading.

15. Turnitin Feedback Studio: Plagiarism Detection and Feedback Tool

Turnitin Feedback Studio features robust plagiarism detection capabilities to maintain academic integrity. Instructors can customize feedback and facilitate peer review activities for collaborative learning environments.

16. CoGrader: Efficient Grading and Feedback Tool

CoGrader integrates with Google Classroom for seamless assignment management. The tool provides AI-driven feedback, accelerates the grading process, and offers customizable grading rubrics to meet educational standards.

17. Smodin: Multifunctional Writing Assistance Tool

Smodin offers writing assistance tools like rewriting, plagiarism detection, summarizing, and AI writing. It supports multiple languages and integrates with various useful tools like plagiarism and paraphrase generators and citation generators.

Factors to Consider When Choosing an Essay Grading Tool

girl writing on a copy - Grading Essays

Criteria and Components

When selecting an essay grading tool, it's essential to look for specific criteria and components for assessing students' work. These criteria will typically cover various aspects such as organization, content, language use, and mechanics. 

These components help break down the essay into specific elements or requirements that students need to fulfill to achieve a particular score. By having clear criteria and components, it becomes easier to provide detailed feedback to students and guide them towards improvement.

Performance Levels

A good essay grading tool should include performance levels or grading scales, such as "excellent," "good," "fair," and "poor." These levels help educators evaluate student work based on where their performance falls on the scale. 

Each performance level should come with descriptors that clearly define what is expected at that level. Having these clear descriptions helps students understand their strengths and areas for improvement, making the feedback more actionable and meaningful.

Thesis Statement and Focus

Another crucial aspect to consider when selecting an essay grading tool is whether it assesses the clarity and relevance of the thesis statement. A strong, clear, and insightful thesis statement is crucial for effective essays. 

The tool should help evaluate how well students maintain focus throughout their writing, as tangents or lack of consistency can impact the overall quality of the essay. By considering the thesis statement and focus, the grading tool can provide targeted feedback that helps students enhance the core elements of their essays.

Ease of Use and Interpretation

Selecting an essay grading tool that is easy to administer and interpret is key. Teachers should be able to use the tool efficiently without unnecessary complexity. Avoid tools that require extensive training or have a steep learning curve, as this can hinder its adoption and effectiveness. An intuitive and user-friendly interface will make it easier for teachers to provide timely feedback and guide students towards improvement.

Cost and Accessibility

Evaluating the cost and accessibility of the grading tool is essential. Some tools may be expensive, while others might be more budget-friendly. Consider whether the tool is accessible to both teachers and students, as user-friendly interfaces are essential for efficient grading and feedback processes. By assessing the cost and accessibility of the tool, you can ensure that it aligns with your institution's budget and supports equitable access for all students.

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Save Time While Grading Schoolwork — Join 30,000+ Educators Worldwide & Use EssayGrader AI, The Original AI Essay Grader

man writing on a copy - Grading Essays

I am excited to share with you about EssayGrader, a groundbreaking AI grading platform that is transforming the way essays are graded by educators worldwide. 

Grading Efficiency

With EssayGrader, teachers can save an incredible amount of time grading essays. On average, it takes a teacher 10 minutes to grade a single essay. With EssayGrader, this time is significantly reduced to just 30 seconds. This represents a remarkable 95% reduction in the time it takes to grade an essay, with the same high-quality results. Imagine the hours saved and the increased efficiency for educators!

Features and Benefits

EssayGrader offers a wide range of features that make the grading process more efficient and effective. 

  • One key feature is the ability to replicate grading rubrics used by teachers. This means that AI does not have to guess the grading criteria, ensuring that essays are graded accurately and consistently. 
  • Teachers can set up fully custom rubrics tailored to their specific needs. They can also grade essays by class, allowing for seamless organization of grading tasks.
  • Educators can take advantage of the bulk upload feature, which simplifies the process of uploading multiple essays for grading. 

AI Detection

To ensure the authenticity and integrity of student work, EssayGrader includes an AI detector that can identify essays written by AI. This feature helps educators maintain academic honesty and detect any instances of plagiarism.

Essay Summarizer

Another valuable feature of EssayGrader is the essay summarizer. This tool allows educators to quickly summarize essays, providing a concise overview of the content. This can be incredibly useful for quickly gauging the main points of an essay and providing targeted feedback to students.

Wide Adoption

It is no wonder that over half a million essays have been graded by 30,000+ teachers on the EssayGrader platform. Educators from primary school to college level have embraced this innovative tool to streamline the grading process and provide students with high-quality, specific, and accurate writing feedback in seconds.

With EssayGrader, grading essays has never been easier or more efficient. Join the thousands of educators who are already benefiting from this transformative AI grading platform. Save time, improve grading consistency, and provide valuable feedback to your students. 

Get started for free today!

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