12 Time-Saving Grading Tips for Teachers & Top 19 Tools to Use

May 24, 2024

If you are an educator looking for effective grading tips to make the process smoother, you have come to the right place. In this blog post, you will find various tools for teachers to make grading a more manageable task. Whether you are just starting in the field or are an experienced teacher looking for new tips to incorporate into your routine, you will surely find valuable information that will help you improve your grading process. Let's dive in!

Why Does It Take Teachers So Long to Grade Work?

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Grading is one of the most crucial tasks in teaching. It is a recurring process that takes up a significant amount of time. Grading various types of assignments takes different lengths of time. For instance, grading multiple-choice quizzes and tests take about 1 second per question to grade, while short-answer quizzes and tests take approximately 5 seconds per question. 

Grading Time Varies by Assignment Type

Extended-answer quizzes and tests may take 1 to 3 minutes per question to grade. Homework and classwork also vary in the time it takes to grade them, depending on their nature and purpose. Formative assignments, which provide feedback on students' understanding, may take a few seconds to several minutes per assignment, while summative assignments, which measure mastery of a concept or skill, take longer. Essays and projects are the most time-consuming assignments to grade. 

The Hidden Time Costs of Grading

For instance, grading a standard 5-paragraph essay may take 5 to 19 minutes per essay. Teachers must input the grades into their electronic grade books, which may take 1-2 minutes per class's grades for a single assignment. All these grading tasks add up quickly, leading to a significant amount of time spent on grading each day.

A Sample Course Load

Let's consider a scenario where a teacher teaches 5 class periods: 2 sections of freshman English, 2 sections of sophomore English, and 1 section of senior English. On a typical day, the teacher collects 60, 10-question short-answer quizzes, 60 essays, and 30 formative classwork assignments. The time it takes to grade these assignments piles up quickly. 

For instance, grading 60 quizzes may take 50 minutes, while grading 60 essays may take up to 12 hours. Adding up the time taken to grade all these assignments, input the grades, and taking into account the daily teaching and family responsibilities, the total time spent on grading alone in a single day can be overwhelming. This demanding workload requires careful time management strategies to ensure that all grading tasks are completed efficiently and effectively.

13 Time-Saving Grading Tips For Teachers

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1. Avoid Grading Everything

As a teacher, it's essential to discern which assignments must be graded thoroughly and which can be evaluated more efficiently. Not every task requires detailed feedback. For example, consider using spot checks for certain activities or awarding participation points for assignments like journal entries or book reports that don't need extensive grading.

2. Utilize Different Grading Techniques

Explore various grading systems that suit your students' age, ability, or needs. There are multiple approaches to consider, from standards-based grading that focuses on smaller learning targets to pass-fail systems that simplify feedback. Flexibility in grading techniques can help cater to diverse learners across different levels of education.

3. Create Grading Rubrics

Developing clear rubrics can streamline the grading process by providing consistent guidelines for assessing student work. Rubrics save time on repetitive feedback and set clear expectations for students. Establishing a grading scale based on rubrics helps in easy grade calculation and ensures fair and transparent grading.

4. Utilize Your Students

Engage students in the grading process through peer grading or self-assessment. By involving students in assessing each other's work, you save time and foster critical thinking skills among them. For instance, students can grade simple assignments such as math quizzes, reducing the workload on teachers.

5. Avoid Assigning Busy Work

Focus on quality assignments over quantity to make grading more manageable. Meaningful projects that align with lesson plans are more effective for student learning and save teachers from unnecessary grading. Avoid assigning tasks that do not contribute to your curriculum.

6. Reduce Distractions

Create a conducive grading environment by minimizing distractions such as social media and notifications. Find a quiet space to focus on grading without interruptions. Put away devices or use tools to block distracting websites while grading to enhance productivity.

7. Carve Out Specific Time

Establish dedicated grading periods during your week to manage the workload effectively. Setting aside specific times for grading, such as during prep hours or your most productive periods, helps maintain a consistent grading schedule. Blocking time for grading tasks on your calendar can remind you to stay organized.

8. Use Technology

Explore technology solutions that can streamline the grading process, such as feedback, input, and tracking apps. Leveraging technology can help provide efficient and accurate feedback to students and manage grading tasks more effectively.

9. Cycle Feedback

Implement a cyclical approach to providing feedback on student work to save time and work more efficiently. Prioritize detailed feedback on specific assignments or classes and rotate this focus to optimize the grading process. Cycling comments can help in managing workload effectively.

10. Take Breaks

Avoid prolonged periods of grading without breaks to prevent stress and exhaustion. Taking short breaks during grading sessions can improve productivity and mental well-being. Engaging in activities like walking or calling a friend can refresh your mind and enhance your grading efficiency.

11. Outsource Feedback When Appropriate

Delegate feedback responsibilities to students or recommend external sources for assistance when needed. Peer assessment, self-assessment, or seeking feedback from other resources can reduce the time spent on grading. Teachers can focus on evaluating student performance more effectively by involving students in the feedback process.

12. Just Do It!

Follow clear rubrics and guidelines for assigning grades to simplify the grading process. Avoid overthinking grading decisions and focus on grading fairly based on established criteria. Clarifying why students received specific grades helps ensure transparency and efficiency in the grading process.

13. Grading Made Easy with Our AI Essay Grader

AI Essay Grader is the most accurate AI grading platform trusted by 30,000+ educators worldwide. On average, teachers spend 10 minutes grading a single essay, but with EssayGrader, that time is reduced to just 30 seconds. This 95% reduction in grading time provides high-quality, specific, and accurate writing feedback in seconds. Teachers can replicate their grading rubrics, set up custom rubrics, grade essays by class, upload essays in bulk, detect essays written by AI, and summarize essays using the EssaySummarizer tool. 

Get started for free today!

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Top 19 Tools for Teachers to Speed Up Grading

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1. 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!

2.  Showbie

Showbie is a platform that combines all essential tools for assignments, communication and feedback. Showbie has an effective gradebook with many other features. You can mark and grade your students’ work using the class listing within the Shared Folder, easily grade student work while viewing it, and add grades as a value. You can also add a meaningful text with feedback. You also have some room to add text comments. But the real time-saver is the ability to add audio feedback: just hit record!

It’s also possible to quickly look at students grades by assignment, class or on a individual basis. On top of it all, you can export grades in a CVS file, as HTML, or in an email template that includes an attached CVS file.

3. Viper

Viper is an anti-plagiarism scanner and promises to scan uploaded documents for plagiarism, a serious issue in academic, business, and publishing circles. It’s aimed at students and is handy for reducing the copying and shopping of term papers and essays. Viper is effective at identifying plagiarized passages and noticing potentially similar passages, mis-identified or mis-attributed quotes, and other suspicious sentences.

4. ZipGrade

ZipGrade is a grading app that helps you grade multiple choice tests in minutes. Simply scan the tests with your smartphone, and the app does the rest. Of course, not everything is about grades. This app only gives grades, it’s up to you to know on what the students need and what questions you have to explain again. Don’t forget to give some good feedback!

5. BookWidgets

BookWidgets is a learning platform that allows teachers to create fun and engaging interactive lessons for tablets and computers. The tool has over 40 activities, such as quizzes, crosswords, worksheets, and other interactive teaching apps. Once the teacher has made an assignment, the student can fill it in and send it back to the teacher. 

By the time it gets there, the assignement or test is already graded! Through the teachers’ dashboard, you can do progress tracking and give them constructive feedback. You access the platform and download the results anytime, anywhere. Go check out BookWidgets’ grading dashboard and discover student analytics, auto-grading and how you can give feedback to students!

6. Itunes U

Itunes U makes it easy to organize your classroom. With homework hand-in, an integrated grade book, and private discussions, everything will be just fine. You can deliver lessons, grade assignments, and stay connected. Everything is just one iPad away. The integrated grade book lets you know exactly how each student is doing, it lets you see when a student has viewed an assignment, when their work is complete, and when it’s time to reach out with a reminder.

7. Thinkwave

Thinkwave is an app that provides several useful features for teachers and educators. Multiple options are available such as a messaging system and custom reports. So it’s a comprehensive app that simplifies administrative tasks and provides valuable insights into student performance.

8. Alma

Alma allows to record and track grades, calculate weighted averages, and generate progress reports.You can give input comments and feedback for each assignment.

9. Gradebook Pro

GradeBook Pro is a powerful classroom management tool. Its many features allow teachers to categorize assignments and view grades by category, use either weighted or standard grade scales, award extra credit or deduct penalty points, calculate the average score for each assignment, evaluate overall class performance, email grade, attendance or status reports to students. You can create PDF reports of class grades, rosters and attendance records.

10. Flubaroo

Flubaroo is a free add-on to Google Forms/Sheets. It helps you grade and analyze online assignments and assessments. You can also email scores to students! With Flubaroo you’ll be able to get scores for each student, and identify students in need of extra help, view the average score, and a histogram of scores and quickly identifies questions which a majority of the students missed.

11. Formative

Formative lets you distribute an assignment to your students. Students make it, and you get live results. You can follow your students in their learning process of that assignment and give instant grades and feedback. It basically is the same as Google forms, but easier to use and with some other essential features that a teacher can’t miss out on. Formative is also a nice tool that you can use for - take a guess - formative assessments.

12. Edubirdie Plagiarism checker

Teachers and students can use Edubirdie to check whether they used unique resources in their writings or papers. The plagiarism checker lets you upload a file or paste your text and will give your resources a percentage. This percentage illustrates the uniqueness of your text.

13. Kahoot!

Kahoot! is a game-based learning platform that allows teachers to create, share and play learning games or quizzes, called "Kahoots", with their students. It is used for formative assessment and engagement.

14. Edulastic

Edulastic is an online platform that enables teachers to create, assign and grade assessments. It provides a library of standards-aligned questions and the ability to create custom assessments.

15. GoSoapBox

GoSoapBox  is a student response system that helps teachers engage students during lessons. It allows students to ask questions anonymously, take polls, and participate in discussions.

16. The Answer Pad

The Answer Pad is a student response system that enables teachers to create interactive lessons and assessments. It provides real-time feedback on student understanding.

17. Kaizena

Kaizena is a tool that allows teachers to provide voice comments on student work in Google Docs. It enables more detailed and personal feedback compared to written comments.

18. FreshGrade

FreshGrade is a free app for students, teachers, and parents that provides a continuous view of student work and progress. Students can upload artifacts like images, videos, audio, and text posts to their digital portfolio. Student work appears along a timeline to show progress over the year. On their part, Teachers can create, assign and grade custom activities and assessments. Parents can view their child's portfolio and comment on the work. Parents receive notifications of new activity in their child's portfolio.

19. LearnBoost

LearnBoost provides an intuitive gradebook software that allows teachers to track student progress, input grades, and generate reports in real-time. This feature simplifies the grading process and enables teachers to monitor student performance efficiently. 

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How to Evaluate and Use Grading Tools Effectively

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Before diving into the sea of grading tools, it's essential to understand your grading needs. This involves reflecting on your current grading processes, identifying pain points, and pinpointing the specific tasks you want the tool to streamline. Consider the types of assignments, number of students, and subject area you teach. This clarity will guide you towards choosing a tool that aligns with your unique requirements.

Research and Compare Options

The quest for the ideal grading tool begins with thorough research and comparison. Look for tools specifically designed for educational grading, as they will cater to your needs more effectively. Read reviews from other teachers to gain insight into the practicality and usefulness of the tools. Compare features, pricing plans, and integrations with your existing systems like Learning Management Systems (LMS) and grade books. This informed evaluation will help you make a wise investment.

Trying Before Buying

Like test-driving a car before purchasing, it's smart to avail of free trials or demo versions of grading tools. By testing the tool with a small subset of assignments or students, you can evaluate its user experience, functionality, and the time it saves you. This hands-on experience will give you a realistic preview of the tool's potential to enhance your grading workflow.

Implementing Gradually and Seeking Training

Introducing a new tool to your grading workflow gradually is like taking small steps towards a rewarding destination. Implement the tool in phases rather than all at once to avoid overwhelming yourself. Seek training resources provided by the tool's creators or attend training sessions to maximize your familiarity and comfort with the tool. The gradual approach ensures a smooth transition and effective utilization of the tool's features.

Streamlining Your Grading Workflow

Customizing the tool's settings to match your grading preferences is like tailoring a suit to fit perfectly. Create reusable comment banks, rubrics, and other templates to save time and effort. Automate repetitive tasks like data entry and feedback wherever possible to increase efficiency. By streamlining your grading workflow, you optimize your time and energy for better use.

Measuring and Refining Usage

Tracking the time spent grading before and after using the tool is like measuring a recipe's success by its taste. Solicit feedback from students on their grading experiences to gain valuable insights. Adjust your tool usage based on the results and feedback received. This iterative process of measurement and refinement ensures that the tool enhances your efficiency while maintaining high-quality feedback and assessment for students.

Related Reading

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

EssayGrader is a groundbreaking AI grading platform that has revolutionized the way teachers grade essays. With this innovative tool, educators can now save a significant amount of time by drastically reducing the time it takes to grade essays. On average, it takes a teacher 10 minutes to grade a single essay. With EssayGrader, that time is cut down to a mere 30 seconds - a remarkable 95% reduction in grading time.

Replicate Your Grading Rubrics with Precision

One key advantage of EssayGrader is the ability for teachers to replicate their grading rubrics on the platform. This feature allows educators to ensure that the AI grading system follows their established criteria and standards, eliminating any guesswork on the part of the system when setting grading criteria. By replicating grading rubrics, teachers can maintain consistency in grading and provide fair and accurate feedback to students.

Customizable Rubrics for Enhanced Efficiency

In addition to replicating grading rubrics, EssayGrader offers teachers the option to set up fully custom rubrics. This feature enables educators to tailor the grading criteria to specific assignments or classes, ensuring that the feedback provided to students is relevant and targeted. By using custom rubrics, teachers can streamline the grading process and provide more personalized feedback to help students improve their writing skills.

Efficient Grading by Class

Another valuable feature of EssayGrader is the ability to grade essays by class. This functionality allows teachers to manage and grade multiple assignments simultaneously, saving time and increasing efficiency. By grading essays by class, educators can easily track student progress, identify areas for improvement, and provide timely feedback to support student learning.

Bulk Upload Essays for Quick Grading

EssayGrader also offers a bulk upload feature, allowing teachers to upload multiple essays at once for grading. This feature is especially helpful for educators who teach large classes or have multiple assignments to grade. By bulk uploading essays, teachers can save time and streamline the grading process, enabling them to provide feedback more efficiently and effectively.

AI Detector for Detecting Plagiarism

One of the standout features of EssayGrader is the AI detector, which can catch essays written by AI. This advanced technology helps ensure academic integrity by detecting essays that may have been generated by AI tools rather than written by students. By using the AI detector, teachers can identify potential cases of plagiarism and take appropriate action to maintain academic standards and uphold the integrity of the grading process.

Essay Summarizer for Efficient Feedback

EssayGrader also offers an essay summarizer feature, which automatically generates summaries of essays. This functionality helps teachers quickly grasp the main points of an essay, enabling them to provide focused and targeted feedback to students. By using the essay summarizer, educators can save time and provide more efficient and effective feedback to support student learning and skill development.

Join Thousands of Educators Using EssayGrader

With over half a million essays graded by 30,000+ teachers worldwide, EssayGrader has become a trusted tool for educators at all levels, from primary school to college. By leveraging the power of AI grading technology, teachers can save time, improve grading accuracy, and provide specific and actionable feedback to help students excel in their writing assignments. 

Get started with EssayGrader today and experience the benefits of efficient, accurate, and personalized essay grading.

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